Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Game Warden Files--More Northampton Beach

Most of the campground complaints were related to the weekends; but occasionally there would be a mid-week event that got everyone's attention. Early one summer morning the Caretaker of the campground called to tell me that he had a pile of complaints about a particular site. The occupants had been up all night, people coming and going, loud music, foul language...all the big things. Of course, no one had bothered to come to his cabin during the night to get him up so he could deal with it, they had just sucked it up and waited until morning, knowing that they'd get to watch the show when the group got tossed.
The caretaker got into my car and we drove into the site, finding two guys looking very hung over trying to get a fire restarted. It turned out that they were not even registered to be on the site, so they were in trouble already. We asked to speak to the permit holder for the site and were told that he had just gone to sleep and we shouldn't wake him up. Yeah, that worked well.
We dragged the permit holder out of his tent and told him that they were going to get tickets. He would be charged with allowing a disorderly site, the other two for being unregistered, and a few other charges that were appropriate for the event (park rules gave us a lot of tools to fix problems like this) and then one of the young men spoke up, telling us that he had "studied law" and that we "could not give them tickets" for that. After hearing that, the park caretaker went over to my Blazer and started clearing out the back seat, knowing that I carried at least three pair of handcuffs for just that reason.
Now that they had expressed a contempt for our authority I had our dispatcher call for a judge and we set a time for an appearance in town court an hour or so later. In spite of their belief that I "couldn't do that," the young men decided that they'd clean up the site as we directed them to and then agreed to follow us to the court rather than be handcuffed together and crammed into the back seat of my Blazer.
We arrived at the court a few minutes before the judge and when she came, the young men were somewhat amused by at seeing a middle aged woman casually dressed and then having me identify her as the judge. When I escorted them into the courtroom and they saw her robed and behind the bench they started to change their tune a bit. The judge looked at me rather quizzically and commented that it was rather unusual to request an immediate arraignment in the middle of the week. When I explained that the men had clearly indicated their thoughts about my authority, so I had thought it better that they be under the authority of her court she gave them a very stern look and said "I SEE!" That started to get my young miscreants to lose some of their cockiness and get a bit nervous.
After reading the charges and advising them of their rights--of course they wanted a supporting deposition in support of the charges--the judge started talking about bail. Did any of them have any money? Cash money? Now they started to sweat just a little bit.
After letting them stew for a while, the judge placed them on 200 dollars personal recognizance bail--if they did't show up, they owed the court $200 each--and sent them home.
I went back to the campground and collected written statements from all the complainants and made one large deposition which the court then provided to the attorney for the young men. Rather than return to the court, they plead guilty via the attorney and paid hefty fines.

No comments:

Post a Comment