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Thursday, January 12, 2006

I want to let everyone know that my toe is much better. After two days of wearing slippers to work, I was finally able to put my sneaker on last night and go to class. Certain movements were disturbing, but for the most part it was a good workout. You’d be amazed at how many times your toe hits the top of your shoe and you’re not even aware of it.

Now onto the topic of the day.

I like to call this one:


“Come on. It was almost 14 years ago. I have been a good girl since. Come on, what say you?”

“No. Throw the form away. You are a convicted criminal.”

“Look. I was railroaded. It was the Sparta Police Department… And I married the guy I bought the beer for!”

Hehehe. Did I ever tell you about the time…

It was a dark and stormy Halloween night, back in 1991. Just kidding. It wasn’t raining. A group of us were planning to go to a party. I, being of 21 years of age, needed to get beer for me and my boyfriend Earl, who was 20 at the time. K, who was also 20, said he’d drive me. Chris, who was about 19, climbed in the back because he wanted to go to Burger King.

To make a long story short - I walked in the store, bought the beer, got back in the car and we drove to BK. We pulled into the parking lot, parked, and were instantly surrounded by about 4 police cars, an under cover car, and a paddy wagon.

Little ol’ me. Surrounded by the entire police force.

K and I were asked to step out of the car. Chris stayed in the back. They took K to the side and I could hear them yelling at him. An officer came over to me and asked me if I knew buying beer for minors was wrong…

As I look back on it now, I should have known my rights better. There was no way that they could prove I bought that beer for anybody but myself. It was unopened. It was not being consumed by anyone and there was no money being exchanged. It was a routine beer run for me, an of-aged adult.

But I was young. I was stupid. I was intimidated and I was scared. I did manage to tell the officer - excuse me - the pig, that I did not buy it for any minors but he insisted that I did and continued to lecture me.

They took the beer and they took Chris. They said they were driving him home.


They told K and I to - “Go home and think about what we did”.

That’s what they said. Verbatim.

There were no ‘rights’ read, there were no ‘arrests’ made, there was nothing. Felt more like a scare tactic and stunt to get our beer so they could go back to the department and party.

K and I drove back to the house. We told everyone what happened and eventually, we continued onto the Halloween party and someone else went out and got beer.

We were not at the party very long before Chris arrived. We were surprised to see him and asked him what happened after the police left with him. He said they drove him home and he sneaked back out to come to the party…

About three weeks past. I was sitting in the kitchen when mom came in with the mail. She handed me a letter from the Sparta Police Department and demanded to know what it was about. I explained that I was trying to buy beer for Earl and myself, and they took it away from me but did not press charges or anything.

The letter said differently.

I was to appear in court for serving minors.

Before the court date, I attempted to get a pubic defender but the judge denied me one, saying, “You don’t need one. Its not like you’re going to jail or anything”.

That’s what he said. Verbatim.

On the day of court, K and I were talking about how to present our case. Surprisingly, Chris appeared and joined our conversation. I did not realize he was going to be there, but it didn’t seem too outrageous an idea. He was, after all, in the car with us.

K and I decided it wasn’t a good idea to mention any money that was contributed to the beer run, but Chris disagreed and said he was going to bring it up… We both looked at him and spat out “What?? No! Don’t say tha…” We couldn’t even finish our sentence when the doors opened and we were called in. I looked at K like, ‘what the hell is up with Chris??’ and we sat down in the front pew.

To ALL of our surprise, the first person called on to the stand – was Chris. I looked at K with big owl eyes, and he looked at me like, ‘we’re fucked’.

The prosecutor brought out the beer with an ‘evidence A’ tag on it and began questioning Chris – who proceeded to tell the court the names of all our friends and who gave me exactly what amount of money to buy beer. It was then that I learned that the police had not taken Chris home that night but rather dropped him off at the party to spy on us.

At that point, I was pretty sick in my chair. And wouldn’t you know it, I was next. I just kept saying to myself THANK GOD THEY CALLED CHRIS UP FIRST BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE SURELY SCREWED MYSELF.

I decided that since Chris had just ratted on me for everything, that it wasn’t worth trying to argue any of it. I would tell them that I bought the beer for myself, but considering it was me against the world, I was prepared to get punished.

And so the questioning started; Was so and so at the party? Did they gave you money? How much?… pretty much everything they had just had Chris verify. I wondered why they thought they had to repeat it all over again with me, except just to rub my nose in it. The prosecutor was in his glory and obviously getting off on making me feel like an asshole. I mean he seriously had a hard on. The more pathetic and guilty I looked, the more aggressive he got. As much I didn’t see how it was relevant, he made it very clear that he knew my boyfriend was Earl and that I was buying him the alcohol. And as much as I argued that it was for me, he insisted that it was not.

Like I said before, if I had been the person I am now, I would have known that none of this could have been proven and they were preying on my ignorance. After all, it was a simple case of my word against Chris’s.

And on it went, for what seemed like an eternity. After a while, I couldn’t even hear the questions anymore. I got tunnel vision and thought I was going pass out. The prosecutor kept drilling me and I just kept saying yes even though I wasn’t sure to what. He kept standing up, sitting down, sticking his pen in his mouth when I answered, and pointing at the beer labeled ‘evidence A’ when he thought of something else to accuse me of.

I may have just admitted to the Kennedy assassination for all I knew.

When it was over, the judge announced that he was going to “make an example out of me”.

That’s what he said. Verbatim.

No slap on the wrist for first time offense. Nope. He gave me a $500 fine and 750 hours of community service in an alcohol rehabilitation center (where I was offered a job because I did such good work). K got $750 fine and 6 months lost of license. Chris lost all his friends.

As it turns out, Chris got a lot more than that. Apparently, he had been caught previously with a whole mess of drugs – acid and heroine, I believe. He made a deal with the cops and became their nark. His mission – get Earl and K busted for something, anything. The Sparta Police hated Earl and K with a VENGENCE. They were the bad boys of Sussex County. Always doing naughty things, always on the run, never getting caught, and always among Sparta’s Most Wanted.

But if you can’t catch the rabbit, get the next best thing…

The rabbits’ bitch.

No matter what they put us through, and it was alot, I loved Earl and I loved being Earl’s girlfriend. I mean, what more could a teenage girl want but to be going out with America’s bad boy? He was only 17 years old and came complete with leather jacket, holey blue jeans, six-pack abs, gorgeous facial bone structure, beautiful curly brown hair and eyes bluer than the sky.

With Earl and I, it was love at first sight. We were both standing face-to-face, not knowing what either one looked like because we stood under the night sky in the middle of The Great Swamp. I only caught a glimpse of his face when he took a drag off his cigarette and the cherry cast a warm glow over his baby blues, which were locked in on mine. It was that moment that I fell for him, and I fell hard.

I saw him dancin' there by the record machine
I knew he must a been about seventeen
The beat was goin' strong
Playin' my favorite song
And I could tell it wouldn't be long
Till he was with me, yeah me.
- Joan Jet

Sorry. Got a little carried away there for a minute..

So to continue, I was the target this time. Eventually though, I wasn’t enough for the SPD.

They started reaching for straws and got real dirty, taking Earl and K down for something they didn’t do. The coppers ripped him right out of my arms when we were coming back from my grandma’s funeral. Can you believe they even admitted to planning on taking him during the funeral, but decided to wait for us to come back into town?

It was a big mess and after four days in jail, months and months of court, DNA testing, and several thousands in lawyer bills, they were found innocent of all charges. As a matter of fact, it turns out the Department had the guilty party the whole time – and THEY admitted to being urged by the police to say it was Earl and K behind everything. A lawsuit against the department was started but never finished, because the lawyer decided to run for office and thought suing the police department would be bad for his campaign… And no one else in the legal field wanted to go after the SPD.

Gotta love the politics.

Earl and I were finally married in 2002 - K was our best man - and Earl and K are still the best of friends.

Chris was found dead a couple years ago from an overdose.

Karma’s a bitch, aint it.

But that’s getting off the topic at hand. It’s all about ME, remember?

So here I sit, working for a Military firearms company. Just recently, I was asked to apply for my pink card so I could go into the gunroom legally instead of being escorted by a pink card carrier. Turns out, I can’t apply for a pink card because –


I am the only one in the building who can’t apply. Me - sweet. little ol’. me.

Amongst the retired cops I work with is the EX Bernardsville Chief Of Police. We also have a history together. He pull me over one night when I first got my license for driving across the highway with a boy on my hood. Yes. That’s right. I would have gotten away with it too if the Mayor’s father hadn’t squealed on me.

Now we’re all one big happy family. Chief even came to the wedding, and we danced. And now, Chief is going to file for an expungement for me, which is the sealing of a criminal record so it is not publicly available. Although my “criminal past”, such as it is, has never really come back to haunt me, it would be nice not to have to check the box that asks if I have any offenses against me when I fill out applications.

I guess not all cops are pigs.

And Chief agrees that I was completely railroaded, especially believable since it was Sparta. For one, there was no proper procedure followed. Two, technically I was not caught in the act of doing anything illegal and no one could prove I was going to give it to any minors (for all anyone knew, I could have taken the money, bought the beer, and gave it to my parents), and to top it off, the judge that tried me lost his daughter to a drunk driver and therefore was considered to be biased to any alcohol related cases and not supposed to be involved with my case.

How many times have you asked for the police’s help with a problem and they tell you, ‘you have to be able to PROVE it…”


So there you go. More than you bargained for, I’m sure. I hope I kept you interested and amused to the end. I have so many other stories regarded the dreaded Sparta Police and their agonizing pursuit to get us kids for drinking in the woods. Ha! Even with that snazzy SUV they bought just for such purposes of chasing teenagers, they couldn’t catch a single one of us. I wished the entire force could spend one week in South Side Bethlehem to see what real crime is about...

Because I’ll bet money down that they’ve never had to deal with a crack addict stabbing his drug dealer 20 times with a samurai sword and lighting him on fire in the apartment next door to the police sub station, ultimately trying to convince the cops that he did them a favor.

Nope. It’s more like hiding in the bushes to radio in people who’ve cross over the yellow line when turning through the intersection. Saw it with my own eyes, I did.

I'll show them. I'll get my pink card and I'll rub it in their piggy little noses. They wont keep me down. NO sir. Not this little criminal.

So. How many of you have been busted for contributing to the delinquency of your husband?