jump to navigation

Benjamin’s Day in Court April 27, 2007

Posted by Joe in Family, Scouts.

I mentioned in a prior post that at the very end of last year, we bought a minivan in preparation for Lydia’s arrival. Laura is the primary driver of our new newest ride and I took up driving the Chevy pickup that she used to drive. The old Ford pickup has been converted to the “farm truck”.

During all that automotive shuffling, the Chevy’s registration was due to expire. Fortunately Laura recognized that we may be more than just a little busy during the holiday season and she renewed the tags a full month before they expired.

Unfortunately, though, she apparently placed the new tag at the very bottom of my overflowing inbox (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) so I didn’t put the new tags on the Chevy before the old one expired. In Cheatham County, Tennessee, that’s a sure way to get a ticket the very first time you drive after the expiration date – which is, of course, what happened to me just days after Lydia’s birth. While Beck, Benjamin, and I were returning home from an errand, the blue lights of a State Trooper illuminated my rear view mirror. Benjamin enjoyed seeing the patrol car, the lights, and the trooper. I didn’t.

The fine for such a violation is $151.50. The trooper advised me that if I went to court, I could keep it off my driving record and have the fine waived. I know from a prior experience however that the court costs exceed the amount of the fine.

I decided that I would go to court anyway and take Benjamin with me so he could see our judicial system from start to finish. My only hesitation was that I knew from my prior experience that sometimes the court system is not very happy with people who bring kids into the courtroom. My last time there, a Judge threw a mother out of the courtroom for bringing her three kids, postponing her appearance for another 3 months. He was generally rude and impatient with everyone.

I thought it may be a good experience for Benjamin nonetheless. But I hedged my bets a bit and had Benjamin don his Cub Scout uniform. No Judge would belittle me for bringing a Cub Scout to court for a civics lesson.

On the day of my court appearance, we entered the courtroom. The lady who checked us in, was very nice and even offered to let Benjamin sit up front where he could see the proceedings better. He respectfully declined and sat with me.

As Judge Maxie called driver after driver before him, I could see that he was a fair man and, although he wanted to keep things moving along, he gave each case the consideration it deserved.

Finally my name was called. Benjamin accompanied me to the podium before the Judge. While reading my file, the Judge asked if I had indeed been driving on expired tags; I acknowledged that I had. He asked if I had since registered the vehicle in question. I explained that it had been registered before the citation was issued but that I had failed to attach the tag to the vehicle.

With that he looked up and saw Benjamin beside me. He gave slight smile, looked Benjamin in the eye, and said “I’ll tell you what. If you can recite the Cub Scout motto, I’ll dismiss the charges against your dad.” Benjamin looked up at me and I explained the Judge’s request. Benjamin recited the motto. The Judge struck the gavel and pronounced that all charges have been dropped and the court costs were waived. I thanked him and beamed with a bit of pride over my son. Being completely caught off guard by the Judge’s impromptu request, he came through.

I explained it all to Benjamin as we left the courtroom, telling him that he had just saved me over $150. The least I could do was buy him lunch. We went to Cracker Barrel where he had pancakes with baked apples and a root beer. Later we visited a couple of my clients in town and finally headed home in the late afternoon.

What a great day!



1. amazinggrazefarm - April 27, 2007

YIPPEE!!!! You go Benjamin!!! Thank you Lord for judges like that one!!!

2. Amy - May 1, 2007


3. Grams - May 6, 2007

Very good idea for education!
Glad it turned out well, too!
Luv, Grams

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: