Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Three Judge Palmer Stories
In those days, the judges always had lunch together in a little alcove right by Courtroom Number 1. They were served by the inmates, who at that time always had one or two chefs doing time. As good as the food looked and smelled, there is no way I would ever touch food that inmates knew was on its way to the guys who had sentenced them. But it was a different time.
During criminal court week, the President Judge would call out the cases to be heard that week on Monday. In those days, there might have been a hundred. I remember on one occasion, there was an older guy, dressed shabbily, sitting in the back with a paper bag. He looked inside from time to time.
This guy had been charged with some kind of petty offense. When his case was called, he got up and in a loud and booming voice, said "Guilty, your Honor."
Judge Palmer called him up to explain and he did. He told the judge it was getting cold outside and he needed a place to stay.
"How about 30 days?"
"Could you make it 60?"
"If you don't shut up, I'll give you probation."
I told that story to a local veteran lawyer today and he added a few of his own.
This lawyer once represented a very nice little old lady who was unable to stop shoplifting, and had been before Judge Palmer many times. She was always very sorry. She always promised it would be the last time.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with you. I understand you have a problem, but I have to protect society, too."
"I know, Judge, I know."
"Life in prison."
The woman swooned.
The third story involves a person I call a wickey flicker,a guy who has some kind of compulsion to expose himself to women. I used to represent one of those guys. His name was Balz.
This story involves another wickey flicker, who had been charged with indecent exposure. He was in the back of the courtroom, probably feeling a little embarrassed, during a call of the list.
Judge Palmer called the case and the guy just sat there But Judge Palmer had previous experience with the guy and called the case again.
"You've been charged with indecent exposure.Stand up! On second thought, sit down!"