A court we sadly lack

After years of watching the wheels of justice slowly turn here in S’lano County, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need at least one more court to handle a recurring problem that continues to plague our justice system.

We”ve got Juvenile Court and Drug Court and Traffic Court, but for some reason we seem to lack a Stupidity Court, which could easily handle hundreds of cases here annually.

Think about it – how many crimes do you hear about that cause you to shake your head, grin wryly and mutter, “Maaaaan, that was stupid…”?

Plenty, I’d guess.Yet the really stupid crimes continue to clog the court system and take valuable time away from the adjudication of more serious offenses.

If it were up to me (and, hey, why not?) Stupidity Court would handle any crime involving gross idiocy in which no one was physically harmed. Defendants would be judged not only on their violation of the California Penal Code, but on the relative stupidity of their actions.

Take, for example, the geniuses who rob convenience markets.

Not only is this behavior illegal, but it’s also really, really dumb. The perpetrator is generally risking state prison time for roughly $39.27, plus as many packs of cigarettes as he can snag as he backs out the door.

When was the last time you heard about a guy knocking over a convenience market and then trotting off to buy a new Jaguar?

Rob a convenience store, go to Stupidity Court, where you”d also get extra jail time tacked on if you locked yourself out of your getaway car or showed your ID to prove you were old enough to steal beer. (Convenience store robbers have been known to use both of these remarkably subtle methods to get themselves caught…).

Then there are auto thieves.

Here’s a tip for staying out of Stupidity Court: Never drink and drive a stolen car. Really. You’re either going to get pulled over for driving a stolen car and your intoxication level will then be detected by the arresting officer, or you”ll get pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving and the officer will ascertain that you’re driving a stolen car. This is not a win-win situation, amigos.

It’s also important to remember not to steal an unmarked police car – especially the unmarked police car of, say, the chief of police. Yes, this actually happened several years ago in – where else? – Fairfield. The chief was not amused.

Some violations would merit an automatic referral to Stupidity Court. One of my favorites is unlawfully transporting inedible kitchen grease across state lines.

I’ve never actually seen one of these cases, but there’s a California Vehicle Code section to cover it, so some genius must actually have gotten caught at the state line with a load of inedible kitchen grease at one time or another.

Pretty stupid…Since California has a “Three Strikes” Law, it’s only logical that we have a similar statute for repeat offenders in Stupidity Court.

For example, on your incredibly dimwitted third offense, you’d automatically be deported to Washington, D.C.

There, with any luck, you could go straight and start a new career as, say, a lobbyist or perhaps a spokesperson for the State Department…

Originally published February 22, 2004

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