Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Guilty as charged.

On Friday, the last segment of the court saga with my former neighbors Betty and Igor came to a close. The state prosecutor who was handling my case called me on Thursday night and told me that I would be "on call" for my case on Friday. This is done as a convenience so that witnesses don't have to spend an entire day at the courthouse all to end up not needed. If you are called, you have an hour to get to the courthouse. My stepdad, who has been accompanying me to court as moral support was ready to go at the drop of a hat.

At about 4:30PM on Friday, I called to see if it was likely that we wouldn't be needed. The state's attorney surprised me by getting on the line and told me that Betty and Igor both pled guilty and would serve one year probation. Supposedly, Igor found a job in another state, which I give him three months to fuck up, and the courts are letting both of them serve their probation there. They had hired a private attorney, probably paid for by the proceeds from Betty's car sale or God knows what else. She was trying sell her car that was a gift to her from her grandfather, to support her life with this bum when they left. Along with the telecommunications charge, Igor got a fraud charge called "moral turpitude" which I'm sure I have wrong and am spelling incorrectly. That means that he's basically branded a liar in a legal sense. If he comes before the judge again, which is highly likely, his word will be questioned because of this on his record. It's sort of a way that the opposing attorney or judge can say, "Why should we believe you when you have this on your record?"

Two days before the trial, I got a strange and unnerving phone call. A man from California called me "looking for the girl in 3F." I could see California and the phone number on my caller ID, that's how I knew. He asked me if I would be willing to accept a letter on her behalf and tack it on her door. I asked what it was regarding as my heart rate increased, and he said it was a "personal business matter" that he didn't feel he should discuss with the neighbor. Yeah, but you're fine with involving me by asking "the neighbor" to tack a letter on Betty's door? That's ok? I told them the apartment was vacant, and he sounded surprised. I was so taken aback that I didn't ask how he'd gotten my unlisted phone number and knew that I was a neighbor. At first, I thought he was someone to whom Betty and Igor had given my number, but the nature of the call didn't seem like it. First, the guy sounded somewhat educated unlike the people who called for them or they hung out with. Once I calmed down, convinced that no one was trying to lure me into a trap, I figured it was a bill collector or someone else trying to serve them a summons. He couldn't have known how terrible his timing was. Just to be sure, I traced his phone number back to a home address in Escondito, CA, then called the property records people at city hall to get the name of the person that owned the property. I wanted to know where and who this guy was, or determine if the number was real. Like I said, I was unnerved.

So, that is the end of that. I'm happy with the results and that what they did is on record. For one year, both will be on short leashes. Especially Igor. They will have a year to be reminded of what they did to someone who extended kindness to them. It won't change them, but they will be inconvenienced for a year. And, pay me back the twenty dollars they owe me. Hopefully, it's not in the form of a check as that will certainly bounce.

I'm so glad that I saw this through, and to those who are in a similar situation I can only say to take the same action. It's so easy to get discouraged by the initial phases, but it's such a healing process and so worth the effort. The burden of proof was on me, and I decided to carry that burden and make sure they were held responsible. It wasn't fun, was nerve racking at times, and I certainly didn't enjoy seeing Betty and Igor on the other side of the courtroom. I wish it could have been different. However, they chose to give me the finger in return for my kindness.

So, I returned the gesture.

Now, they must carry the burden of their actions, while I get to rid myself of mine.

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