Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I'm in New York state court yesterday and there's this crazy old lady in a wheelchair being pushed around in the lobby by an old gentlemen (presumably her husband?) and she's just cursing out loud at everybody who passes by and screaming loudly about how she wants to "go eat." This goes on for at least 30 minutes.
I go to my hearing and the judge orders me to place a call to my client to clear something up. I step back out into the lobby to make the call and the crazy lady is still going off. At this point she had been going strong for about an hour. Mind you the court police are all standing around doing nothing. About 5 minutes into my call I literally cannot hear the client so I tell the client to hold on for a moment and I shout out to the crazy lady and her partner who were about maybe 20-30 feet away from me "do you mind?! This is a place of business."
The gentlemen who was pushing her chair (and to his credit, had been trying to calm her down this whole time) acknowledges what I said and begins to push her away from where I was at. However, one of the courtroom police officers who was standing close to them shouts over to me "whoa! Sir, you don't do that! That's not your job! Excuse me sir, that's not your job to say that!" I look at the cop, acknowledge him by raising my free hand in a "I hear ya" gesture and proceed to return to my phone call.
Apparently this was not good enough for this officer and he proceeds to walk all the way from the crazy lady (a distance of 20 or 30 feet) to come get up in my face and repeatedly yell the same thing about how it's not my job to tell people to be quite and how if I have a problem with somebody I need to go through the court officers. Then he adds "she's clearly not in her right mind" I say "I see that" he then repeats "that's not your job to tell her to be quiet". Instinctively, my gut reaction was to engage him in an argument b/c there was a whole host of things I had to say about that, but I had a client on the phone who is very important to my firm who is hearing all of this. So like Samuel Jackson at the end of Pulp Fiction I had to quickly take the position in my mind that "normally yo ass would be dead as fried chicken right now but you happened to pull this shit when I'm going through a transitional phase..."
So I conclude our exchange by saying something to the effect of "well then go do your job." With that, the cop turned and walked all the way back over to the crazy lady and they had an exchange. I just found it odd that there was a crazy lady cussing loudly for an hour, nobody was saying anything to her, and the minute I say something this cop dropped what he was doing to walk all the way over to where I was at to reprimand me for saying something he should have said an hour ago. Not to mention the absurdity of his position that one adult can't tell another adult to respect the sanctity of the courtroom without going through a court officer.