BLAME IT ON THE COMPUTER
APPOLOGY CONCEPT DOES NOT EXIST IN OUR SOCIETY.
DENNIS L. BLEWITT, J.D.
One of the products of our automated justice system is that our civil servants do not have to be held accountable for the actions of automated wrongs. Thus. When there is harm or wrong to an individual, the computer can be blamed and that explains everything, removing the necessity of an apology. It is also used as an excuse for unfair and dumbass results. I try not to get personal, but sometimes that is the best way to make a point. I believe my tale of woe points out the wrongs of automation and having dumbasses rely on it in every day activity.
When I was a judge, I went to judging school. The state was just transitioning from a Justice of the Peace system to that of a Municipal Judge. Since AAA had placed Colorado on the list of states that had speed traps and it was felt that this would affect the tourist industry, an attempt was made to counter this perception. So, at judging school, we were taught to listen patiently, explain our rulings in a way that the miscreant could appreciate the gravity of his conduct and not seek revenge for an unfair result.
We were taught that 90% of all citizen involvement with the courts was through traffic court. Out of that set of people, 90% thought that they received an unfair result and were somewhat bitter. We were taught to change that result. In essence, we were taught how to be the public relations arm of the municipality. If a citizen were irate, angry or otherwise angry with the result, it was our fault for not listening or explaining adequately. I took this mandate seriously and used to run an inefficient court with satisfied litigants. Everyone, except the police, who didn’t quite understand why any debate was necessary since they issued the ticket and they should be backed up. They viewed their function as revenue generation, not public relations. Consequently, I was fired. I made friends in the city, but pissed off the police. They were disappointed that there was not enough money to buy an armored fire truck for hippie riots and public bathing.
Years later, I received a traffic ticket for not having proof of insurance in a vehicle I had just purchased and for displaying my old license plates in addition to the temporary dealer sticker. Although this data was available to the officer in the State data base, there was a technical violation. There was a grace period with the insurance, but the officer read the law literally, even though it was impossible to comply. The state needed 30 days to produce a title. In any event, I was issued a summons to appear in the Municipal Court of Boulder. I went to Venice and the appearance was to be 2 days after my return. However, I returned with pseudomonas A. pneumonia which required hospitalization for a week upon my even though contrary to common law.
I called the court upon my release and was told to go to courtroom at the jail to see the arraignment judge. return to the country. Consequently, I missed my mandatory court date for not having proof of insurance, which our brilliant legislators required in order to send a message that they deemed having insurance important,
The judge left by the time I got there. There was a $500 bail set automatically and I was jailed. I was still on antibiotics and oxygen, but was arrested nonetheless. This was a Friday afternoon at about 4 pm. Now, I would like to point out that I have lived in the community for 50 years, practiced law for 43 years, and was a judge and a candidate for District Attorney at one time. However, the city hired contract judges for the municipal court. The system is automated and the judges are young because they cost less and are not so particular about Due Process and other legal niceties. Their job was perceived as collecting as much revenue as possible for the city. Procedures were put in place, and if a mistake was made or an unfair result, then that is tough. It is the system’s fault, not theirs. It is the same dynamic as when a policeman murders a citizen, he is held unaccountable if he followed his training and procedures. That excuses the use of any discretion or common sense. So, we pay these Jackasses well for not thinking and following procedures, just like the Nazis did in the extermination of the Jews. They are just following orders.
I know many of you have heard this before, but I think the story needs some context. I was arrested. I was jailed. I was just released from the hospital. I didn’t have my oxygen or my meds and my phone numbers were in my cell phone. I was stuck, but because of my appearance, the jailers were reluctant to jail me. Instead, they wanted me to sign a med release. I didn’t, so I was put in a cell without a chair, cot, blanket or bed because I was uncooperative. This was done by a licensed medical professional.
Eventually, someone came with the $500 cash for my bail. However, the person was told that there must be a $50 fee for making the bond, because the bonding, as the telephone was a private enterprise, installed because the Sheriff couldn’t be bothered with dealing with cash. He can’t trust his deputies with cash, but can a private entrepreneur. Bull Shit. So, to get out of jail, I had to make collect calls to people, informing them that I was in jail, and subjecting them to a fee of $2.00. Then, even though there was a cash bond deposited, another $50.00 was extorted to pay a mechanized bondsman to relieve the Sheriff’s office of any accountability. I was denied albuterol until I agreed to sign a blanket release to all my medical records. Frankly, I was quite traumatized.
I went to court, showed my insurance card. Throughout this whole incident, I received no apology from anyone in the Sheriff’s office of the Municipal Court. There were following procedures. Well, it is time that someone pay attention to procedures and the consequences of automation and privatization or government services. Procedures should allow for false arrest, unreasonable bail, murdering citizens by trigger-happy cops and police brutalizing citizens. The citizens should be served by their employees. If not, we should be outrages and contact officials until change is made. The officials rely on the fact that we don’t protest or express outrage or anger when mistreated and that we should not be concerned when computers take the decision-making from people or thoughtless procedures replace humanity and justice. I was remiss in letting this insult go. I am to blame for all the police mistreatment that exists today. Burke said it centuries ago, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke) Evil can take many forms, neglect one of them. I have given up on officials showing the courage or intellect to effectuate change to alleviate the wrongs of privatization. They have bought into it without any thought. We need to equate justice with fairness and equal treatment, not punishment and enhancing privateers.
I apologize for whining, but I can’t help but wonder what happens to the minorities, poor, uneducated, downtrodden and others left behind by an automated society which worships efficiency over results. I think it is time that we start demanding apologies for the callous treatment of officials or for the idiots that thing a system error forgives any mistreatment. If I can apologize, why can’t they?