It was only a fender-bender. Thank God, because the young woman driving was seven months pregnant with her second child. Still, she was cited for speeding, basically because she struck the rear of the vehicle in front of her.
It was only a fender-bender. Thank God, because the young woman driving was seven months pregnant with her second child.
Still, she was cited for speeding, basically because she struck the rear of the vehicle in front of her.
Her husband was in favor of paying the ticket, though they didn’t need the added expense.
But the young woman said she wanted to fight it.
Her husband had been home when the accident occurred, and couldn’t venture much of an opinion on the validity of her claim that she could successfully appeal the citation.
But he trusted her, though they never really went over the substance of what she intended to argue in court.
And so they found themselves in district court on a Monday morning in early fall, awaiting a hearing before a clerk magistrate.
They didn’t have a babysitter, so their 4-year-old son was also along for this brush with the judiciary.
It was the husband’s job to keep the child under control amidst the hubbub that is a district court hallway on a Monday morning.
This is akin to defying the laws of gravity.
At one point the soda injudiciously purchased to mollify the 4-year-old was, of course, spilled. Fortunately, most of the soda had been consumed, but the hallway’s floor was littered with what appeared to be hundreds of the tiny ice cubes that had formerly occupied the Styrofoam cup.
The embarrassed husband scuttled about plucking ice cubes from the floor and wiping the surface dry with paper towels, fearing that a lack of alacrity could lead to a fresh charge of A&B by dangerous weapon, to wit bored 4-year-old boy.
It seemed like a long wait, but they actually went before the clerk magistrate within about an hour of their arrival. This middle-aged man had the “seen-it-all-before” air and expression common to veteran clerk magistrates.
The police department’s representative, in uniform, quickly detailed the facts. The young woman had struck the other vehicle due to excessive speed, in the on-scene officer’s opinion.
The young woman then spoke, explaining that she was pregnant at the time of the accident.
The visual evidence presented by the young woman, now eight months pregnant, was incontrovertible.
The court’s police representative didn’t argue that point, but was clearly dubious regarding its legal merits.
“You mean,” he said, his tone set at righteous indignation, “that you’re saying your excuse is that you’re pregnant?”
The young woman didn’t have a chance to elaborate.
That’s because the clerk magistrate responded immediately: “I’ll allow that.”
And the young family returned home after taking part in legal history.
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.