My first impression was that we the people have paid a lot of our hard earned money into taxes to build the castles that house our courts. This is after the mandatory screening at the doorway to the Superior Court located at 800 North Humboldt Street in the city of San Mateo. It has a generous parking lot surrounding the building which itself is set a park’s distance away from the street. With trusty aluminum cane in hand I stumbled up the very long walkway; step by step with the cane keeping cadence with my right foot; up to the indicated entrance on far left. As I entered I was immediately ordered by one of the guards to place my bag, belt and all belongings containing anything metal into a bin. I was then offered an alternative cane; I declined; my cane and bin was placed upon a conveyer; I told the guard I could cover that short distance thru the metal detector on my own; sans cane. I was ordered to proceed.
After passing thru the heavily guarded checkpoint and recovering my belongings I was instructed to find a seat. I turned right and looked down a very long corridor. To my right it was all tinted windows clearly showing the entire path I had traversed to gain entrance. In front of the windows there was a very long row of wooden benches lining nearly the entire length of the very long corridor; broken up here and there with a plant in-between them. On my left was a nearly bare wall with three glass cubes protruding from them surrounding regal wooden doors; they looked like ice cubes; contributing to this thought was how chilly it was inside compared to the warm and beautiful day I had enjoyed prior to entering this forbidding domain. In fact I had arrived early. I noted this as I sat and glanced up at a large old fashioned clock; it’s hand indicated it was only ten past one; the court room doors were currently locked and secured; so I sat there at the left end of a hard wooden bench; resting my head upon my cane and closing my eyes; occasionally glancing up at the clock; all the while contemplating what will happen next.
The trial had been reset to the aforementioned address and at the designated time of 1:30 PM. However I was not informed of who the judge would be. Weeks before the clerk stated that the judge would not be assigned until the day of my trial. Before sitting down I had found a computer screen high up on my left between courtroom I and H. The screen provided a scrolling list of names and which courtroom we were assigned to. I found my name; G would be where my guilt or innocence would be determined.
I sat there on the bench between the clock above and slightly left and courtroom G slightly to my right; both across the wide corridor. Slowly, ever so slowly the length of the corridor filled; though some seats remained; quite a few officers, lawyers, and a majority to the pre-determined guilty chose to stand. Eventually a sheriff unlocked the outer glass door to courtroom G and we were ordered to pass through the looking glass cage. Though this glass only reflected the unknown and no comfort was found inside.
I found a nice spot at the very back row on the left side of the courtroom. No sooner had I made myself comfortable I was ordered to vacate my seat as it was reserved for the attending officers, the very same Cretans that summoned us here by arresting us and forcing us to sign a document stating that we would present ourselves and that should we not that we would bear the brunt of dire consequences.
Unknown to me as I found another seat on the right that Officer Chice was present. Or that another with nearly an identical situation to mine would stand up later and be dismissed because of this officer’s good heart and intention to cite him with the same statute as he did me. His case would be dismissed; which after a very long string of guilty verdicts gave me some hope. But my case would not be dismissed. For I had blundered and at the beginning of my case pointed out the similarity of our cases and from my lips I emphasized this by stupidly proclaiming “Déjà vu!”