Friday, April 10, 2009

Out of pocket on the way to the docket

If you want to belly up to the underbelly of society, visit the Multnomah County Courthouse.

I did on Monday — briefly.

My mission was to attend a probate trial involving the estate of a deceased elderly neighbor. I wanted to find out if the judge would rule that his family was, in essence, ripped off in his dying days by a possibly predatory caregiver.

The caregiver, who had been on the job a mere 3-months, was named in an amended will as the sole beneficiary of my neighbor's nearly $1 million estate.

His stepson and other relatives were not amused. They're suing.

When I arrived at the judge's chambers, the door was locked and the courtroom dark and vacant. The trial had been rescheduled for this coming Monday.

I'll be there, but this time I won't be packing my minuscule Swiss Army knife with its two-inch-long menacing blade. That's because last Monday the sheriff's deputies screening visitors spotted it on my key chain, confiscated it and summarily threw it in the trash.

Replacement cost: $17.50.

I was not amused.

The marble corridors of the Multnomah County Courthouse are inhabited by guys in suits (lawyers); gals in suits (lawyers); armed, Kevlar-vested cops; all matter of disgruntled and surly looking youth (mostly guys, mostly minorities); stoic parents, and various courtiers, so to speak.

You could make a day's outing of the courthouse. I didn't, but when my neighbor’s estate is resolved, I might just wander by to check out how justice is faring. The place is a multi-ringed circus tent of deviance.

Besides, I've already contributed my $17.50 to the courthouse trash heap. Might as well get my money's worth.

If you call the main number during the week, the full rundown of departments and case categories is on the call routing announcement. Dial (503) 988-3022. Talk about diversity. We got your traffic court, your small claims court, your criminal court, your probate court ....

Oh so many ways to run afoul of the law.

If you do decide to visit the courthouse, wear loafers or slip-ons (for ease of removal at the security gate) and DO NOT pack anything that could even remotely be construed as a weapon.

If your key chain is like mine, consider it suspect.

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Anonymous David McDonald said...

This s pretty common place throughout our country. Without anyone else knowing, a caregiver has (through who knows what means) "convinced" someone who is unable to think clearly, to change their will. I hope the judge nails this slime ball.

5:35 AM  

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