The next perp to come into court was large, very large.
Magistrate Aquilina looked to make sure the bailiffs were on point. It was bad enough when a 110 pound Hispanic kid broke loose but this guy could be a disaster.
The social worker slid the cheat-sheet onto her desk.
Aquilina quickly scanned it. Clean tox-screen. Brainwave scan showed recent closed-head injury. Three broken ribs and minor hemmoraghing from the liver and spleen.
The man was a newbie in her court. She would have remembered him.
“What is your name?” Aquilina asked. She always asked that question. The compulsive liars would always give her a different answer than the one on the sheet.
The man stood there and Aquilina thought “He is not going to answer me.”
Finally, the man said “David.” which matched the name on the sheet, no surname given.
It just took that long for the surviving brain cells to find another functioning brain cell to talk to.
“You look more like a Goliath than a David to me.” Aquilina mused beneath her breath.
Aquilina took a minute to really look the man over.
Besides being enormous, he stank. He smelled of stale urine and feces. He had a pall of ‘dead mouse’ smell wafting off of him, undoubtedly from the swollen, puffy infected forehead.
He had been popped after stealing food from a street vendor. He had not resisted arrest.
“Turn around.” she commanded.
After processing the thought, and with a helpful prod from the bailiff, the man slowly turned.
The back of his head had been thoroughly pulped in the recent past. It was a solid crust of scab. All of his exposed skin was sun blasted and blistering.
“You aren’t from around here. Where do you live?” Aquilina asked.
The man thought for a count of three and then answered, “In a house.”
Aquilina gave him a sharp look to see if he was being flippant.
“WHERE is the house?” she asked.
Again, the man thought for three seconds before he was able to dredge up the information in his head. “On a street.”
"Well, obviously we are not going to get much information out of him.” Aquilina commented.
Addressing the social worker, “What is your recommendation? Do you judge him competent?” Aquilina asked.
“In my professional judgment the defendant is not competent.” the social worker intoned.
“No shit!” Aquilina snapped, sarcastically.
“What do you suggest we do with David?” Aquilina said.
“He can’t go back on the street.” the social worker said. “He clearly cannot fend for himself.”
“That, and it is pretty clear that he really pissed off the wrong people.” Aquilina agreed with the social worker for once.
“David, no surname given, is sentenced to three years of power generation at the San Diego sewage treatment plant.” Aquilina was limited to sentences of three years or less. She figured moving him to San Diego would make him less accessible to his enemies, whoever they were and maybe his brain would knit in the intervening three years.
Power generation was not economical. It cost $2 a day to feed and house the prisoners and the half kW-hr they generated each day was only worth twenty cents. It gave them the semblance of honorable work and more importantly, made them tired enough to keep them out of trouble...most of the time.
“You” Aquilina said, pointing to the social worker, “enter a note in his file to make sure a doctor looks at his head when he shows up in San Diego.”
Aquilina was not a cold human being. She did what she could with the three minutes she allotted to each defendant. She had gone thirty second over with David but it could not have been helped.
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