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Ernie's House of Whoopass! January 20, 2016
January 20, 2016

Jury Duty Part VIII: Arresting Officer.

Okay, back to the jury duty story. Now I have to admit I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when they called Arresting Officer forward. The last time I had jury duty, it was a woman who was about 50lbs overweight who didn't look like she could chase anything more than a ham and cheese bagel. So when Unpronounceablename announces to the courtroom, "The State of Florida calls Arresting Officer," I couldn't help myself from creeping forward on my seat and craning my neck to get a good look at the officer entering the courtroom. Was he some soft doughboy like before? Was he some six and a half foot monster? White? Black? Or perhaps a woman? A six and a half foot monster of a woman?

At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I saw five legs. Wait, what? When the Deputy manning the rear door returned with the next witness, his hulking frame was partially obscuring my view of Arresting Officer who was being led into the courtroom. Thus I could only see a Deputy with five legs. Wait, five legs? I can see four legs, but five legs? I sat puzzled for a second, my brain scrambling through different scenarios which might explain what I was seeing. I came up empty. In fact, wasn't until Deputy reached the short wooden wall, pushing open the door with his left hand while stepping to his right, that I finally had my first clear look at Arresting Officer. He is, well, short. And I mean really fucking short. Like Elijah Wood in The Hobbit, short. Like Unpronounceablename steps forward and reaches out her hand to greet him, and he has to look up into her face when he shakes it. And he's walking with a cane. So now literally the two of them are limping their fucking way to the witness stand, Officer Frodo in the lead, and Unpronounceablename hot on his heels, both going at a fucking snail's pace.

Again, like when I discovered John Goodman was one of the witness, I steal a quick look at the other jurors... are they even fucking seeing this? Evidently not, because I'm the only one with an amused look on their face. Once they round the prosecutor's table, Unpronounceablename goes for the pass and for a split second they're running two wide. Personally, I think Officer Frodo carried too much speed coming out of the turn, so I don't think she'll be able to catch him, but unfortunately we never get to find out. Officer Frodo continues his arc wide left and just as the bailiff gets up to assist with the climb to Mount Doom the witness chair, the Court Clerk stops Officer Frodo dead in his tracks by instructing him to raise his right hand to be sworn in. Unpronounceablename, on the other hand, has swung wide right and is gathering up a big 3'x5' printout of the Google Maps overhead view of the crime scene. Officer Frodo says the magic words and is given permission to carry on towards the witness chair, the bailiff assisting him on the tail end of his trip by offering to hold Frodo's cane for him. Officer Frodo declines as quickly as if he had been asked to give up the One True Ring, and following half a minute's struggle within the tight confined of the witness chair, offers us the following testimony...

Officer Frodo was just driving along in his police cruiser one July afternoon -- minding his own business -- when a call for an attempted vehicle burglary comes across his in-car police laptop thingie. Being right around the corner from the location specified in the call, Officer Frodo acknowledges the call from dispatch, hits his lights and sirens, and heads north towards the Florida Skin Center. But before he can reach said address, a second update informs him that both suspect the victim have left the place of business the call originated from, and are headed north on Del Prado Blvd. Officer Frodo begins to keep a sharp eye out for either of the two vehicles mentioned (silver Dodge pickup, grey Ford Focus) but before he can locate either of those vehicles, he receives a third update: both suspect and victim have turned into a race Trac gas station, and the victim has the suspect's vehicle blocked in.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. Officer Frodo is just a minute away from the gas station when what comes across his in-car police laptop thingie? That's right, a FOURTH update, this one informing him the situation has escalated and the victim has been struck by the suspect's car which has now fled the scene. Arriving less than a minute later -- side point here: as the old adage says, when seconds count the police are only minutes away -- Officer Frodo pulls into the Race Trac and sees the victim's pickup truck, the victim and his son, and some guy with a landscaping trailer, all of whom are pointing towards the race Trac's northern exit. Officer Frodo stops long enough to confirm with both John Goodman and Average Son that they are indeed the ones who called 911 -- remember Average Son is still on the phone with the 911 operator -- before speaking to Good Samaritan who has walked towards the police cruiser and offered an eyewitness account of what just took place. Officer Frodo leaves the gas station via the route suggested by those on scene, and before too long comes in contact with Chris Penn's grey Focus. See, this is what happens when you flee down a dead end street, you dumb shit.

So Officer Frodo bangs a Uey, hits his lights and sirens, and stops the car in question. And what does Chris Penn do the second he's pulled over? Does he sit patiently, hands on the steering wheel, patiently waiting for the officer to make contact? Of fucking course not. He immediately gets out of his vehicle and starts walking back towards Officer Frodo's cruiser. Unimpressed with his attempts at friendship, Officer Frodo exits his vehicle, unholsters his sidearm and levels it at Chris Penn's chest before ordering him to stop and place his hands on the trunk of his vehicle. Unfortunately Chris Penn complies, otherwise this would be a really fucking short story, amirite? Chris Penn is then handcuffed and patted down for weapons. Finding none, Officer Frodo asks him if he knows why he being pulled over, and Chris Penn goes on to tell the tale of some crazy man who attacked him, vandalized his car, followed him and tried to falsely imprison him before jumping on the hood of his car, how he barely escaped with his life and how he only wants to get home so he can pick up his girlfriends daughter from school. Officer Frodo reads Chris Penn his Miranda rights, and asks if he would like to make a verbal statement, to be recorded on Frodo's body camera. Chris Penn waives his Miranda rights, and repeats his previous tale.

At this point, two additional police units arrive -- one of which is K9 but unfortunately doesn't get any time on the field -- and Officer Frodo dispatches those two officers to the dermatologist's office and the Race Trac to view any security footage. Officer Frodo asks Chris Penn if he would like to revise his statement, prior to the officers viewing the security camera footage. Chris Penn sticks to his story -- the first smart thing he's done all fucking day, if you ask me -- adding for effect, that he has never ever ever been in a dermatologist's parking lot in his entire life. Needless to say, once the two dispatched units report back after reviewing the security camera footage, Chris Penn is formally placed under arrest and charged with Burglary of a Conveyance and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. A fourth police unit is dispatched via radio to pick up the girlfriend's daughter from school.

Peter Griffin's cross examination of Officer Frodo doesn't really yield much fruit. He asks why the officer didn't investigate the self defense angle claimed by Chris Penn, and uses this opportunity to shout the phrase, "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" not once, but TWICE. He asks Officer Frodo if John Goodman seemed to be in an excited state when he was interviewed, and Officer Frodo replies that he does not know what Peter Griffin means when he uses the word "excited." With a puzzled look on his face, Peter Griggin pressed harder, "When you took John Goodman's statement, did he seem agitated to you?" I'm sorry Sir, I don't know what you mean by agitated. What does that mean?” Peter Griffin is preparing to ask the same question a different way when Dr Taub shouts, “Objection,” and asks to approach the bench. El Jefe agrees and Dr Taub, Unpronounceablename, Chris Penn, Peter Griffin, and Really Old Court Reporter all approach the bench for what looks like a huddle for fourth and goal.

El Jefe places his hand over his microphone and a hushed conversation ensues, punctuated with lots of gesturing and nodding. After twenty seconds or so, the legal beagles all stand upright and turn to walk back to their respective tables. El Jefe states very calmly, “sustained,” into the microphone and Peter Griffin, now standing back in front of the podium, begins to shuffle through his notes. “Officer Frodo, when you first made contact with John Goodman, what was his demeanor?” Dr Taub sat bolt upright in his chair, sending a blue pen sliding across the table and off the other side to the carpet below, “Objection.” “Sustained,” says El Jefe with a rather impatient look on his face, ”there is a proper way to impeach a witness, and that isn't it.” Peter Griffin nods, takes one final look at his notes and with a defeated look on his face, mumbles “No further questions, Your Honor.”

El Jefe informs Officer Frodo that he is excused, and Officer Frodo thanks him and reaching for his cane begins to maneuver his weight onto it. Again, the bailiff offers his assistance in stepping down from the witness chair, but Officer Frodo shrugs him off, shooting him the briefest of “He's gota My Precious!” look. As Officer Frodo makes his slow and methodical way towards the doorway that would lead him to the rear of the courtroom and out towards civilization, Really Old Court Reporter takes advantage of this unusually long break to lean back in his chair, close his eyes and flex his fingers. I get my first look at him and by my estimation, Really Old Court Reporter's plain brown suit cost him somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 dollars; $23 if it included the brown and pink polyester tie that coiled itself around his neck. After enough time to make everyone a little bit uncomfortable, Officer Frodo completes his trek to the rear of the courtroom, and with the Deputy's assistance, out through the rear door. It slams shut with a muffled boom.

”The State may call its next witness.” “The State has no further witnesses, Your Honor. The State rests.” “Very well,” says El Jefe who then stares studiously at the clock that sits on the wall behind us jurors. I roll my weight to one side, simultaneously looking up at the clock (1:40pm) and releasing a small Silent But Deadly, courtesy of a McDonalds breakfast burrito on the way to court this morning. “Would the jurors like a full hour for lunch, or can we cut it just a little bit short and be back here by 2:30 for closing arguments?” I steal a quick glance at my fellow jurors and we all nod in silent agreement. "I think 2:30 sounds fine, Your Honor," says Skinny Tanned Bald Dude. El Jefe nods his head and reaches for his gavel, "Court is adjourned until 2:30pm while we break for lunch. Bailiff, please escort the jury out. All Rise while the jury exits the courtroom." Everyone in the courtroom stands up as instructed, as We The Jury toss our notepads down into our chairs and follow the bailiff out through the rear door towards the Jury room hallway.

Tomorrow: Our Final Oasis.

Hey Ernie, Good luck finding the fountain, it doesn't exist anymore. It was right in front of the Paris but they took it out to make room for more retail space. Joel

Took a lot of Google Fu, but that lovely topless duo is posing by the fountain that was at the Paris Las Vegas. Cameron

If you've got a spare seven hours coming to you any time soon, you may want to give them up to the Corleone family, since a new version of their quintessentially American saga is on HBO. It's called The Godfather Epic, and it's a chronological re-edit of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, remastered from a project first commissioned for television back in the 70s.

With a little Google footwork, you should be able to determine the path this crowd too and show me exactly where this girl is running with her bulls out. And I still need someone to find out when this issue of In Touch magazine was published.

And wow, now is the time to stop up on pistol ammo, since 9mm ammo prices have fallen through the floor. Sixteen cents per round? That was unheard of just a few short months ago.

In 1958 Jim and Nena opened their first pizzeria on West Market Street in Philadelphia. Three years later they relocated to West Philadelphia Street in 1961. Since then they have had more than 14 pizzerias including Jo Ja Ma's Famous Chicken and Jim and Nena's Feed and Dispensing Restaurant. There are currently ten Jim and Nena's Pizzaria locations, with all but two being operated by the family.

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