Chris Johnson: The wheels of justice are falling off

November 3, 2013 

It was about two and a half years ago that my wife and I took the boys to a Dairy Queen in a little interstate town for a quick snack. It turned into a long night after a couple of losers dove through the sunroof and stole a GPS … and about 17 cents.

Fortunately, we told the manager of the Dairy Queen, and he was able to retrieve a video that showed the dudes jumping into the car -- literally about 15 seconds after we entered the restaurant. To our surprise, the police caught the thieves about a week later. The GPS, valued at $140 or so, was never recovered.

This was the most open-and-shut case since Brutus stabbed Caesar. One of the criminals turned on his buddy in exchange for a guilty plea and got off lightly. His buddy, though, despite being caught on camera and despite having been identified by his buddy as the one who actually grabbed the GPS, refused to admit guilt.

He was offered plea deals that would have required him to seek employment but wasn't interested. He was offered deals that would have required him to finish high school. Still wasn't interested. Essentially, anything that involved effort on his part didn't interest him -- not even showing up for court dates, leading to more than one warrant for his arrest.

His stealing the GPS had irked me, but it really wasn't that big of a deal. But when he started gaming the system, that made me mad.

We debated whether or not it was worth it to pursue in the first place, but I pushed to prosecute this guy because he obviously did not care about anybody or anything. This wasn't his first crime and wouldn't be his last -- and likely wouldn't be his smallest. And finally, after more than two years, the case has been re


The wheels of justice do move slowly. Actually, they move more like my truck's left rear tire that almost fell off last week when the oil change/tire rotation place failed to tighten the lugnuts on it. A wobbly tire makes an awfully disconcerting sound, and it's a miracle I made it back to the establishment with only one lugnut still on the crooked wheel.

And it'll be a miracle if this fella ever completes all of his sentence because it includes paying us restitution for the GPS. Fortunately, that process is finally under way as last week we got our first check toward restitution … a check for $1.06. I swear I'm not making that up.

That means that in 11 years, this GPS should be paid for in full. Of course, in 11 years I'll have a flying pickup truck running on a tiny nuclear fusion generator. And I won't need a GPS because we'll be able to tell our vehicles where to go while we take a nap.

The amount of time and effort this one thug was able to elicit from the legal system confounds me. Perhaps if the legal and law enforcement systems weren't so bogged down with the inane and ineffective drug war, they could deal with folks like him swiftly -- and folks committing way greater crimes.

I'm all for due process, but I think too many folks get undue amounts of process. Our court system is jammed with obviously guilty thugs stretching out court dates, frivolous lawsuits and entities going after homeless guys with a few joints. The system is broken.

Unfortunately, I don't have the legal smarts nor the time to figure out a solution. I'm too busy trying to budget how to spend this $1.06. I'm thinking about a McDouble with no onions if I can scrape up enough change for the sales tax.

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