aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

A dismal affair

I went to court this morning to watch a parishioner receive his sentence on drug charges. I was the only person in the audience. He wore jail garb and chains. Lawyers, clerks, judge, and sheriff's deputies were all there as a matter of official routine. It took maybe 15 minutes to dispose of the plea bargain, sentence, and probation conditions following release.

He got 14 years, seven of which were suspended. He's been in jail for 100 days (including his 21st birthday), for which he gets credit. If he qualifies for drug rehab in prison, he could get another time cut. All in all, he hopes to get out in about three years. I don't argue with the fairness of it: I think he got a pretty good deal, all in all. But three years is a long slice of one's life when one is only 21.

We didn't speak. No opportunity to. But I was there. We exchanged looks. I hope my presence was a witness to another verdict on his life beyond that of the earthly court: that somebody thinks he's still worth something.

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