The following is a guest post by Patrick Grady:
I flew into BWI late Thursday night. John was waiting at baggage claim for me. This had been arranged by an offer from a truly gracious host, and not by request. After a full day of work and half a night of travel, I was very, very grateful.
John drove me to the motel where I now sit typing this. If Bill knew how close I am … well, suffice it to say that I am glad this motel sits on top of a good sized hill next to the highway. I checked in, hung my suit, cursed myself for the one medical incidental item I forgot (guess all you want – I’m not saying), improvised a solution, and crashed hard.
Woke up this mornin’, got myself a gun … (Sorry. Soprano’s reference). Went downstairs and availed myself of the free breakfast – the saving of the Hockey Parent, I’ll tell you. Went back up and prepped for battle.
I had a bit of free time, so I did a lttle work printing off more information that might come in handy later in the day. John arrived just before I finished. I packed up and we headed for Ellicott City. We sat down in the Einstein Bagels previously mentioned by John with – you guessed it – bagels and coffee. We did not spot any lurking photographers.
We dicussed strategy and options. To tell the truth, I came here with the intention of vigorously pursuing all available legal options, both civil and criminal. I filled out and we printed a copy of a Maryland Peace Order, and I made preparations to file it.
Our next stop was the courthouse. We went to the clerk’s office and waited a few minutes in line. Howard County folks seem to have more patience than the functionaries in Cook County, IL. I suspect that may relate to workload volume.
I gave my name. In return, the lady said something like, “Come again?” I repeated it, and I told her I would like to file a Peace Order. I also had some paperwork from Cook County that I would like to have served. She asked against whom, and I told her. The look I got in return was a combination of sympathy and gratitude. She told me that Mr. Schmalfeldt had called and intended to come in later to drop the order. She needed to fetch a sheriff and pull the file, and she also needed to get her supervisor.
The supervisor arrived first. Her attitude and demeanor was similar to the previous clerk.
If I were a less observant fellow, a man who misses facial expressions, a man who doesn’t catch snippets of conversation from the other side of the glass and the occasional sidewise glance and roll of the eye, I might believe that the Howard County law enforcement apparatus had not developed a widely held opinion regarding the overall character of my opponent. After a brief discussion of the current status – there was the Temporary Peace Order pending a hearing in an hour or so in this building, and I have a Stalking No Contact order hearing pending in Cook County, IL, the supervisor told me she could not accept a Peace Order filing in Howard County when there was another similar order based on the same acts pending in another state. If both orders were granted, and violated in both jurisdictions, both or neither might decide to pursue prosecution. With just one order – “on YOUR home field, Mr, Grady” was never spoken, but I inferred it – prosecution would be more likely. Plus, she did say, anything that was filed here in Howard County would obligate me, if I wished to follow through fully, to return for hearings and for any trials where I would be a witness. Again, I inferred from this that the easier way for me was to continue to work through Cook County.
That made my decision for me. Even though I was in Howard County (and I have already read of the efficacy of the Maryland courts at work, which also was a factor), I was being strongly recommended, if not told outright, to go home and press my case on familiar ground – and good luck go with you.
Next, a sheriff’s deputy came to talk with me. He was very straightforward in serving me with the Peace Order paperwork. I told him I already had it, even though I had not been served by Cook County. He asked where I got it, and I told him I had it from Bill’s blog post on the subject.
A brief look of amazement passed across his face. Then he served me papers I already had.
John and I retired to the waiting area outside the courtrooms, setting up on the “high ground” with a view of the parking lot, the better to observe enemy movements, and avail ourselves of “good cover and clear fields of fire,” said John. We waited. Else what’s a waiting area for?
Courtroom 3 opened at 1:00 PM for the 1:15 hearing. We took seats at about five past. The bailiff began calling parties for check-in, and it was immediately clear by his butchering of the last name, that Schmalfeldt v. Grady was at the top of the docket call list. The bailiff called all petitioners, top to bottom (heh – he said “bottom”), followed by all respondents in the same way.
John suggested that the judge could move the case down the docket and call it again, giving Bill more time to appear with his sooper dooper Friday Surprise. We both doubted he would. John did not see any of the usual Team K suspects in evidence to indicate that outcome.
Judge Mary Reese entered the room at about 1:45, immediately apologizing for tardiness, as she was dealing with some issues with detectives in her chambers. Court came into session. She too went through a checklist of parties to ask how many witnesses each party intended to call. “Scham? Schammelfeldt?” The snide grin that popped onto my face was automatic. Whoops.
Going through the checklist, she moved two other cases to be heard and dismissed immediately by mutual consent of the parties. Easy-peasy.
She called “Scham-schammelfeldt vs. Grandy” and I went up, correcting my name. Without being given a chance to say another word, she dismissed the order for Petitioner Failure To Appear (IMO, the last two words being needless). It was over so quickly that the idea of a) mentioning this is the second PO the Mr. Schammelfeldt has filed against me this year, with the same result, and b) asking if I could recover fees and costs from petitioner by court order was dead before I could open my mouth.
John said he thought she may have recognized Petitoner’s name and been eager to be done with this waste of the court’s time.
Works for me.
On to Timbuktu, where I received an education in Maryland crab cakes (YUM!) and a Sam Adams Winter Lager.
It was very tasty, but in concert with the pharmacopeia in my body, we all had an enjoyable afternoon nap.
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<sarc>Isn’t it amazing how all that could happen to someone who wasn’t in Maryland today?</sarc>