Only problem was that the cop took it personal that I beat the rap. One month after being in Court, I left the varsity football game at half time to give Jackie Smyth a ride on my bike to a nearby deli for an ice cream cone. We’re leaving and it’s the same cop with his gum-balls flashing. Two more tickets. This time for excessive acceleration (pulling a wheelie) and riding on the sidewalk. Only this time I was totally innocent. These were things I didn’t do.
Jackie said she’d come to Court with me and I got my Junior High Principal to write the Judge a letter saying how honest I was. Well, it’s only 2 months after getting my license that I’m back in front of the same Judge with my 4th and 5th tickets. The Judge listened to me and Jackie, read the letter, listened to the cop (lying), and says, “You know, I probably should have convicted you of all 3 the first time. Guilty on excessive acceleration – turn in your license son.” I couldn’t believe it! A total injustice! I had legitimately worked a sort of plea bargain the first time around and now the Judge wasn’t willing to call the cop a liar.
A few good things did result, however. One: I started to have a keen sense about injustice. Two: I used the Notice of License Revocation the State sent me to start a set of fake IDs. (In those days you could erase and type in different info – like my year of birth.) And three: I decided to become a lawyer*.
*Actually these court experiences just brought being a lawyer to the forefront of my mind. In 8th Grade my parents had me read about United States vs. Sacco & Vanzetti, and Brown vs. the Board of Education; and even earlier than that in a skit the Dawkins kids did for our parents (it was a family tradition to develop skits every New Year’s Eve while Grace & Jack were out), I walked by with my father’s brief case and announced I was taking my case to court, then re-appeared carrying an empty suit hanger saying I lost my suit.
Tomorrow: Ten Years After
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