Jail Bird Image

Jail Bird

"Yes! Virginia there really is a 'get out of jail free' card".  It is provided by a large NYPD union to friends and relatives offering the possibility of preferential treatment for minor offenses.  ... OR ... one can be so fortunate enough cheeky to be falsely accused of a jail-able offense.  

Long story short, I was recently pulled over for passing a car at 60 mph in a 40 zone.  I had been trailing a slug for 2 miles in a 2 lane street going 20 in the zone. When I reached a section of 2 lanes each way, I kicked in my sports car for a mere 4-5 seconds to pass what was an unmarked cop car.  My foot was immediately off the accelerator once around the car, but it was tooooooooo late.  Upon being pulled over and confronted by the officer, I offered my explanation but not contesting the ticket I assume I would receive.

GOOD NEWS - No Ticket.     BAD NEWS, the officer requested that I get out of the car to go through a series of sobriety drills ... I did. There were 6 tests, two of which I was not able to perform well: standing on one foot for some time and walking a heel-to-toe for 7 steps.  My poor performance of those two drills were enough for the officer to arrest me for DUI and take me to Central Lockup for the next 24 hours. I passed the other four tests handsomely, IMHO.

BUT, here's the point.  I was under the .08 limit breath test when tested at the jail.  Also, the urine sample I provided was clear of any illegal drugs as well as marijuana since I have never used any of those, Really!.  And my failure to perform the mentioned 2 tests was due to my age complicated by serious surgery a year previously as well as a possibly-fatal infection in the spine that really messed with my muscle coordination and balance (I lost 35 pounds). In fact,  I had posted a story on this blog, "Measurement of Self" on this very point in April, 2021 as to the devastating effect on my snow skiing due to medical issues. At 3pm the next day I was in front of an initial judge that released me without any need for bail, "Personal Recognition", with my license returned to me, thereby demonstrating his judgement that I was clearly not guilty of the DUI. However, I still have to go to court for a final judgement at the cost of $3,500 for the lawyer to handle properly. 

So!, the above is the setup for the following 'Just Thinking' posting:

First of all, my substantial educational background in mathematics and statistics requires me to recognize that a singular event provides NO basis for projecting norms. However, with that said, I have to say that my singular event of 24 hours in jail was an extraordinary experience for me. Clearly it was not pleasurable as to sleeping on the floor for only several hours between 6 and 8 AM and rejecting the slop that was served for minimal sustenance. I was not in there for the 'privileges' imagined for white collar crime. I was in there with a number of inmates facing either misdemeanor or felony charges for the most common crimes that one would expect of the 'common folk.'   Regardless of my upper-middle class standing in the community, my advanced education, and my professional achievement, I was their equivalent facing charges that so many of my social crowd would snub with only a smidgeon of compassion. The following bullets are my observations of my singular event"

  • First of all, the majority of guards/officers were equal with all, regardless of color. They assisted where they could in dealing with individual difficulties of the inmates. Granted, there was one cell mate that was totally out-of-control, but again the guards dealt with that individual quite well;
  • When I was waiting for my initial appearance in front of a judge with about 15 inmates in a crowded holding cell (hand/ankle cuffed no less), one guy asked me how old I was.  When I said 74, I instantly became a comical, but kindly, interest for the group. Half of the conversation was not understandable to me given their slang, but it was all friendly with me feigning understanding deprecating statements. Seriously, however, 2 of the older black guys asked me several times if I was OK in that they were genuinely concerned for my welfare given the circumstances and my age, I was greatly touched by this momentary association with my solitary white presence in this group of individuals.
  • Now forgotten, I was told of tricks to cover the use of drugs - something about taking gelatin to capture the offending chemicals that would be expelled through normal human processes and not detectable ... whatever.
  • Also, now forgotten, are slang words spoken by this crowd who were repeatable inmates.
  • Not understanding the process of being admitted to the jail and the steps required to finally get to a cell and find some level of peace while awaiting the process to be released was indeed intimidating for me. But again, my cell mates were more than kind in assisting me in understanding the process and the length of time that would be required.

Again, this was a singular event from which generalities cannot be accurately stated.  Except for the $3,500 lawyer fee, it was indeed a unique experience that has added to my life and appreciation of what I have, given my 'white privilege' to be honest here.  NO, I am not suggesting that all of my 'class' need to experience. My family, my education, and my sense of self would normally have prevented having any knowledge of the world for others without those primary benefits.



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