Justice Served

One of my last posts on my blog before it was shut down and subsequently moved here told the story of the break-in that occurred in July, where someone stole my computer and camera and ransacked my apartment.  Back then, it seemed highly unlikely they would ever find who did it, and certainly unlikely they would ever find my things that were taken.

I’m happy to report that at least 1/2 of that scenario proved to work out for the best.  I got a call in about mid-October from the detective who said they caught the guy and arrested him based on the fingerprints they found on my window.  Upon his arrest, they questioned him about my break-in and many others in the area, and he admitted to many of them, including mine.  I’m not sure of the tactics they used to get that admission, but it didn’t matter to me.

The detective told me the guy’s name, and of course I didn’t know who he was… but of course upon hearing his name I built this profile of what he looked like, what he acted like, and who he was.  Call it what you want– I think everyone does it.  We immediately assume that someone who does something like this is a big, mean-looking guy, maybe in his mid-20s or 30s, and strung out on drugs or booze or whatever.  I was afraid to see him; afraid to face him, because I didn’t know what the outcome would be if I did testify; and I sure as heck didn’t want some big ol’ moose knowing my name and address and coming after me if he was set free.

The detective also told me they were having a hearing in Municipal Court to determine if they had enough evidence to prosecute him.  I was asked to testify against him, where I needed to say simply that (A) I did not know him – I didn’t; (B) I did not give him permission to enter my apartment – I didn’t; and (C) I did not know anyone who would give him permission to do so – I didn’t.  After a few days of deciding if I wanted to go through with all this, I decided it was worth it, and made plans to attend the hearing.

On the day of the hearing, they called the guy into the courtroom.  He was in jail, so they brought him in from a rear entrance.  I kept hearing this tinkling sound that I think was the keys they used to unlock the door, but to me they sounded like chains.  I don’t know why that affected me so much, but it gave me a chill.

Then they brought the guy out, and I was shocked to see that he was this scrawny kid; maybe 5’7″ at the tallest.  They brought him before the judge, and he asked him his name and age.

He was 17 years old.

I never expected the reaction I had.  It wasn’t anger or disdain, and it wasn’t hatred toward him.  It was actually forgiveness.  Yes, I wanted him to pay for what he did to me– and, as it turned out, to many others– but I also realized that I had to forgive him for doing it.

I looked at his face, and I saw an emotionless, empty soul.  He looked lost and forgotten.  There was no family in the courtroom to support him; no friends or any support system whatsoever.  The kid was alone.

Call me a bleeding-heart liberal or a compassionate wimp; but I felt sorry for the kid.

I answered the questions that were asked of me and went into another room while the Detective gave his answers.  After a while, the attorney returned to the room and told me that they were proceeding with his case — the judge felt they had enough evidence.  So I left.

Walking out of the courthouse, I felt mixed emotions– a slight sense of vindication, but then a sense of sadness.  I didn’t know what would come next for this kid, but surely his life is forever changed because of it.  Whether that has any type of good effect on him or not remains to be seen… but I played a part in what will happen to him.

In any case, he won’t be on the streets anymore, and I can live my life a little better knowing that.

Now I just have to replace some of my missing things!

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2 thoughts on “Justice Served

  1. I probably would act and feel the same way you did; at least you didn’t have to testify. I hope the kid doesn’t get lost in the system somewhere.

  2. I’m glad they found your offender; the break-in at your home–with or without the missing stuff–was traumatic for you. It’s good that you had the opportunity to participate in his hearing, and that you decided to do so. Nothing bleeding-heart about it: compassion and justice are two sides of the same coin. There isn’t really one without the other, in my book.

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