Things are no worse than when I went in but, boy, that was a crappy day in court. I should have known - I got a good parking space.
At 8:30, the hearing time, there was no sign of the respondent. At around 9, the kid's father moseys in.
At some point they tell us we're going to Mediation. HUH? What is there to mediate?
I'm alone in the hallway with the father. I offer a handshake. He shakes my hand. He says, "Why would you want to shake my hand?" I'm a little taken aback. What I meant was, "look, we're both fathers and nothing could have prepared us for the horror of these last couple of years." What I could have said was, "you mean because your son is a creepy pedophile and no one in your family has shown anything that resembles remorse?" I mumbled something like, "why wouldn't I shake your hand?" Being civilized sometimes feels really stupid.
We shuffle off to mediation where there are two cases in front of us. One is neighbors, who used to be friends, until one of the daughters egged the other ones' house on Halloween and there was a misunderstanding, blah blah blah. The second one wasn't even that compelling. The mediator was crabby and impatient with both cases. Can't imagine what he's going to do with us.
The mediator is confused by the father's presence. He finally realizes that the kid is a no-show and he lays into the dad. "Then this is over. He had a court order to appear to appear. Why did you think you could ignore a court order??
Father: We were told it would be okay.
Mediator: Who told you that?
Father: The police.
Mediator: What police?
Father: The sheriff who served the papers.
The mediator yelled some more and then asked again, who advised him to ignore a court order.
The father said, I talked to a couple of lawyers. (Translation: If my asshole son has to speak, the case is over. If I show up, at least we have a snowball's chance of fighting back.) The mediator is furious. He tells the father to go wait in the courtroom. When we're alone, the mediator says, "I have three daughters and if this was my daughter I would have killed that kid."
Let me tell you something. Everyone fancies themselves as a killer. When I dropped of the TRO papers to the North Hollywood PD, know what the sergeant said to me? "If it was me, I'd have killed this kid." I think it's a way of offering sympathy but I guess it bugs me because I never seemed to fully answer the question of why I didn't kill him.
The mediator said, "this case has me so upset I can't even go back to work." So for the next 15 minutes I rehashed the case with the mediator so he could calm his nerves. I appreciated the sympathy but I'm kind of over talking about it, I just want my restraining order. "I don't know even know why they sent you to mediation. I think they saw two older Jewish guys and figured it was a business dispute."
He sends me back to court where the judge yells at the father and then holds it over for another date. A month from now. Truth is, the original judge on the order was called away and this judge was happy not not have to decide anything. And I got to do this all over again in April.
Thanks to Markus for coming along. It would have been that much worse to go it alone.