Thursday, July 8, 2010

Truancy charge dismissed

In Judge Eterno's Administrative Adjudication Court this morning the case of a young woman charged with truancy was called. She was there with her mother.

As Judge Eterno explains at the beginning of each court session, it is the job of the prosecutor to prosecute the person charged with a violation, such as truancy, or a crime that is brought into the court. But first Judge Eterno has to accept the case, and so he reviews the paperwork before letting the prosecutor to go to work.

When the judge looked at the ticket, he noticed that the time recorded on the ticket for the truancy was 8:29PM. He asked the prosecutor if Woodstock had a night school. The prosecutor responded that it was just an mistake and that the officer's report indicated what he said was the "correct" time of 8:29AM.

Judge Eterno explained to the student and her mother that there are "scrivener's errors" that he could overlook, but there are other errors that bring "facts" into question. The officer's writing on the ticket was very clear and very deliberate. The officer had, in fact, written 8:29PM for the time of the violation. For that reason, Judge Eterno was prepared to dismiss the charge.

He explained to the student that, under the law, she was entitled to this dismissal. And also that she, the student, was very, very lucky.

And then the judge threw a lifeline to the prosecutor and allowed him to ask that the charge be withdrawn, and the judge allowed that.

Now, that caused me to wonder whether the City might try to charge the student with a truancy violation for the correct time of 8:29AM. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

1 comment:

Another Lawyer said...

I love Judge Eterno. After he made the correct finding ... he told the innocent defendant your really really lucky.

And he was right.