Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Ok, so I know that this post will probably not be a popular one. But I can't help but publicize this observation that I have had about our court system and the amount of wasted tax dollars that seem to so freely flow out those judicial doors (and often into my very own bank account).

CA Cop gets a minimum of 4 hours of time and a half pay if he drives his well toned butt to those courthouse steps. Period. End of story. Cha Ching. Sometimes he is there for 4 hours sometimes he is there for 5 minutes.  More often than not he is there for 30 minutes or less. We appreciate the court overtime. As I am sure all LEO families do.

So here are my concerns, as a public citizen, separate from being a Cop Wife who likes the extra padding in the bank account.

CA Cop ALWAYS calls the court house the day before to confirm that the trial (or whatever court proceeding it may be) is confirmed to happen the next day. Occasionally they will let him know that it has been continued but often times they give him the thumbs up and so he sets his alarm clock for the next day accordingly.  Then he and 4 other officers (or however many worked the case/scene) show up all clocking in their 4 hours of time and a half at their respective pay rates only to discover that the suspect called in ill 3 days ago and the trial has been continued for another day.  Or the suspect is in jail in a different county and won't be in.  Or the prosecutor left on an emergency out of town 5 days ago and so the case has been delayed.  And on and on it goes.  5 officers collect their overtime from the public coffers and continue on their merry way. 5 officers that should have been informed the day before when they ALL called in the day before to check on the trial.

Shouldn't someone, somewhere have known that Suspect B for trial 38G was jailed up in some other county within 24-48 hours of their court date?

I am certain that I know very little about the complexities of a courthouse and of our judicial system, so perhaps I am just revealing my ignorance with this post. But I am shocked at how time and again he does an about face upon arriving at the courthouse because of some preexisting problem with the suspect/attorneys/judges/other officers/etc.  I understand the unforeseen issues of evidence and attorney delays, etc.  And I am not at all saying that once he's there he should not be paid. Our plans were postponed, family time was delayed, and precious sleep was lost so he better darned well be paid, but seriously?  If the suspect has a sinus infection on Monday can't we let the officer's know by Thursday that the 5 of them need not show up and cost the tax payers $1100 for nothing?

Okay, let me have it.  Please tell me I am wrong, or misunderstanding, or should shut up and be grateful for the incompetence of the government agencies because heck I'm personally profiting.......


  1. I can understand it in the case where the sh*tbird pleas at the last minute. But the majority of what you're talking about (it's known in advance, but not communicated) also irks me.

    I admit that I also love the spare change, although in detectives he's always on duty during court time, so no joy. :(

    PS... just because we're part of the system doesn't mean we can't have opinions against some of the stuff that happens.


  2. It is a waste. The courts are thinly staffed and they do not have to pay the officers out of their budget. If they did, things would change.

    On the officers side, I am in the same situation as CA Cop. I feel the money is earned. I leave work at 0200 hours. Go to sleep by 0300 hours. Wake at 0645 hours to be at court by 0800 hours. Even if I am released by 0815 hours. I have to fight commute traffic to be home by 0915 hours. I rarely can get back into a proper sleep. My body wants to be up by 1130 hours. I try to force myself to sleep until 1345 hours. I wake up in time to pick up my daughter from school. I am home with my daughter by 1430. I eat breakfast and leave for work by 1520 for a 1600 shift.

    Any morning trial takes away my day. I cannot work out. I don't sleep or eat well. I barely spent time with my wife.

  3. I agree, it's wasteful. Yes the money is nice, but it (hopefully) isn't more important than sleep and family time - especially for shift workers. Also, when government budgets get tight, cops are among the first to get wage freezes, pay cuts and layoffs. Low morale and inadequate staffing put all cops in more danger. This kind of waste is very short-sighted.

  4. Glad you posted this. We were given 2 hours.

    I used to enjoy the payout when I worked the field, but also understand that it is wasteful.

  5. Sounds like my past 2 weeks. Twice last week I and Sex Crimes Det. are subpoenaed for court. First day, they devide after and hr or two that its moving to the end of the week. Friday comes and after waiting 4 hours (our min. O.T. too) the judge says she won't be in the rest of the day and all other 42 court rooms are booked solid till Monday. So I came back today...an almost 7 day work week because of court.

    I actually use this 4hr rule to my advantage. Traffic tickets go to a different court. Its always on a Thursday (which was my day off) and so it was a sure 4 hrs each week. I do hope there is a way to fix things.

  6. Thanks for the feedback on this one. Glad to see the issue has not gone unnoticed.

    RD- you hit the nail on the head, that if the courts had to pay out of their budgets things might change...Its a shame our tax dollars are not automatically being looked out for, but so it goes at every level of government.