Thursday In Court (Skip And I Are Out On Bond!)

Chief Crazy Horse,
“It is a good day to fight: it is a good day to die.” 

Chief Crazy Horse

Our day in court didn’t go as planned. I know better than to profess I know or understand the legal system.   It involves more than simply what is right, what is the truth and what is wrong.  Just because one of my best friends and hunting partners was one of the more successful, respected and prominent attorneys in Omaha for years, doesn’t mean I know the law, courtroom procedure OR protocol.  Phils talents, I did not inherit. 

1957 Corvette print

Though I spent hours downtown observing his work, none of Phil’s expertise rubbed off on me!   I wish he were still alive today.  He would have handled this a long time ago.  Phil knew the right people to talk to and get stupid deals like this settled.  He used to say, “A good lawyer knows the law,  A GREAT lawyer knows the judge!

I miss Phil.  Not just because of his knowledge of the law and the various community/social/legal contacts he had.  We shared a love of good hunting dogs, fast-race cars (red ones),  Western Nebraska deer hunting trips, weekend (and very often, weekday) Pheasant trips, cold beer, perfect mixed drinks,  Jazz festivals in Kansas City and good horses.  We also shared lunch with socialites including fellow Corvette owners, horse enthusiasts, and yes, judges and other prominent attorneys in Omaha.  Not necessarily in that order.  Phil was one of my best friends…

And so, I thought this would be a simple thing.  Show up on time, tell the judge my story, and justice for Skip would be served.  I took myself AND my ticket to the courthouse for the hearing.  I wrongly assumed that my “loose dog” ticket was just that.  A simple ticket.  I was very serious when I called ahead several days ago, asking the lady if I could bring Skip along as evidence.  I explained that I just wanted to show the judge Skip was harmless and obedient. The lady said I would have to request a hearing with the judge to have permission  to bring a dog into the courthouse if she wasn’t a “service” dog.  There goes my only witness and evidence!  I DID bring pictures of Skip along on my cell phone to show the judge.  BUT there was a sign in the courtroom “Turn Off All Cell Phones”.    New readers can go back to “Skip May Be Going To Jail“.


Family Alumni stamp

I noticed when they started calling out names, they were going alphabetically, and arranging things accordingly.  Funny.   Sitting there, I thought back to the days when one of my closest life-long friends from Boys Town was still alive.  His last name began with the letters “ZV”.  We used to joke that as hard as he tried, Ron was always going to be last in anything they did alphabetically!  He was the last to be called for sports try-outs, the last in any roll call, the last to cross the Boys Town stage  in the auditorium when we graduated.

On this day it looked like I’d be 5th or 6th in line to see the judge.  I also noticed that when people stood up to answer the roll call, the clerk asked each one, “Do you have your attorney with you?”  When my name was announced and I stood to answer, “Here…”,  he posed the attorney question.  I wanted to explain to him that my attorney friend Phil had passed away in August of ’91 and that I’ve really had no need to employ an attorney since my divorce in ’96 or ‘7 and that I couldn’t even remember the guys name who represented me.  He was referred by Louis, Phil’s former secretary who I’ve kept in touch with through the years… 

I wanted to tell the clerk that the reason I was there, was simply a misunderstanding with the power-hungry Animal Control Officer.  That Skip and I were being treated wrongly  That a 13 pound dog wasn’t worth all of this trouble.  I didn’t tell him any of that.  I simply replied, “No sir, no attorney”.  He made a mark on my “file” and put it in the “pending” stack.  If Phil were here, he’d make sure it was at the top of the stack if it ever got that far. “Time is money…”  he used to say.

I wondered as I sat there, if I’d put enough change in the parking meter.  Kind of laughed at myself.  “Yeah, that’s what I need.  Another ticket while I’m fighting THIS ticket.  Wonder if I’d have time to run down and plug the meter?”  I half heartedly listened to some of the cases that went before me, just to get a feeling for the judges mood.  Phil taught me that.  Two teens charged with Minor in Possession.  A guy charged with stealing some stereo equipment.  Another guy in an orange jump suit and hand-cuffs, charged with armed robbery (he was accompanied by a County Sheriff).  The judge seemed to take it all in stride.  I’m thinking my 13 pound dog deal was gonna be no big thing…  But THEY had attorneys!Judgement printWhen my name was finally called;  “The State Of Nebraska V.S. Dennis Buckman.  All parties come forward.” I think my heart rate doubled!  Standing there in front of the judge, the clerk read the complaint.  “Charged with violating State Code blah blah blah Section blah  blah  blah.  Loose Dog…”.  The Judge asked, “Is your attorney present?”  As if my mind wasn’t already racing enough, I thought, “What IS this, with this “Where’s your  attorney…”  business?  We’re talking about a 13 pound dog crossing the street!”.  Instead, I simply replied, “No your Honor.  I don’t have an attorney.”  He peered over his glasses at me.  “How are you going to plead?”  “Not guilty your Honor”.  Looking to his left at the prosecutor, the judge asked, “Aren’t you just asking for a fine?”  “Yes your Honor, $198.00” the prosecutor stated.

Looking back at ME the judge said, “Mr. Buckman, the prosecutor’s office is willing to accept a guilty plea, and impose a fine of $198.00 today.  By entering a NOT guilty plea today, this case WILL go to trial.  At that time, you are exposed to the possibility of 6 months in jail AND up to a $5,000.00 fine which is the maximum penalty for the crime in which you’ve been charged.  You may apply for a public defender if you cannot afford an attorney.  After consideration, do you still wish to enter a plea of not guilty or are you willing to accept the prosecutors offer?”  Assuming I’d STILL have the opportunity to tell my story and show him my pictures of Skip, I simply replied “Yes Your Honor.  I wish to plead Not Guilty.”  BUT, I’m thinking “Jail?  $5,000.00?   HUH?

I knew I was in over my head when the judge rolled his eyes and began reciting a litany of my “rights”.  The right to a trial by a jury of my peers,  the right to call witnesses, the right to cross-examine the prosecutions witnesses, the right to present evidence to the court, the right to (here we go again) have an attorney present, the right to appeal etc etc.  He then repeated the maximum penalty: “If found guilty you may face up to 6 months in jail AND a $5,000.00 fine.  Do you understand your rights and the charges against you?.”   Hmmm.  $198 wasn’t sounding too bad after all!!  BUT, in my mind, the truth would set me (and Skip) free..  All I needed to do was tell MY side of the story.   “Yes Your Honor, I understand…  NOT guilty.”

Swat Team magnet

Sadly I would not get the opportunity to tell my story today.  How the mean ‘ole Dog Catcher parked across the street from my house, looking for the neighbors dog.  Or how he called Skip out of the yard.  How I gave her permission to go visit him.  Or how he went ballistic and called in the SWAT team after my refusal to accept a “loose dog” ticket and how the Omaha Police showed up with th friggin SWAT team,  and made me take the ticket anyway…  I didn’t get to show the judge my pictures of Skip at the scene of the crime either.  The vicious 13 pound attack dog.

Instead, the Judge set a “Trial Date and said I needed to see his clerk for the paper-work to sign.  I didn’t have the nerve to inject any humor in the situation and tell him Skip didn’t have thumbs.  She can’t complete the paperwork without help from me.   Then he told me to “Step to the left, see my clerk and have a good day…”  Have a good day?  Crap, I was just told I have to come back to court and face the possibility of 6 months in jail AND pay five grand that I don’t have lying around,  instead of the $198 I don’t have either!  All of this because some power thirsty Jack Ass Animal Control employee with an attitude.  Who, in MY humble opinion wasn’t doing his job in the first place.  It was my neighbors and I who looked after Charlie.

By the way…   The Pit Bull puppy that ran loose in the neighborhood for months on end?  Charlie?  The neighbor,  Charlies’ owner?   Weeelllll…   The house she lived in is an HUD (local government) house that she rented.  Nice enough gal from what little contact I had from/with her during my meetings and taking Charlie home from time to time.  Weeellll…  They were evicted!   AND she abandoned Charlie when she left.  He was running loose in the neighborhood again.  My neighbor Nate  called one day to say that Charlie had invited himself into his house!  Nate called the Humane Society, and a different officer than the idiot I had at my house, came and picked up Charlie.  They did a follow-up call with Nate later and told him that Charlies owner had been evicted from the house….   Go figure.

Violet Calla Lilly Postage stamp

I will be notified by mail of our trial date.  I wonder if they’d be interested in buying some of MY stamps to send the notice… Meanwhile, I’d better do my homework.  Do some research, read a few law books, perhaps say a few prayers to, I think it is St. Francis of Assisi,  who is the patron Saint of animals.  Need to check on that too!

 Omaha Doulas County Courthouse



To Be Continued I guess…

PS   Some photos you can click on and purchase prints and other things.  Other photos are just there to accompany my rantings…

This entry was posted in Animals, Blank Greeting Cards, Boys Town, City, First Class Postage, Min-Pin, My Dog Skip, Nebraska Humane Society, Posters Cards Gifts, save the date cards, Trucker Buddy, United States Postage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Thursday In Court (Skip And I Are Out On Bond!)

  1. Michael Winn '68 says:

    DouGlas County Courthouse… alway a critic somewhere. Wonderful piece of literature! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The court system is such a Joke. i have lost all faith in them, but good luck and at least you and skip are out on Bond.


  3. By the way very good writing


  4. Tom Gray says:

    Please keep us posted on this. I am very interested in seeing how this turns out.

    P.S. If you lose, I’ll come visit you and put some money on your books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. well written indeed, stubborn critter aren’t you! having said that your laws (or some of them anyway) are a joke!


  6. What a waste of time. It would have been nice if they told you an attorney was needed. Why aren’t they prosecuting all the murders and thieves. They should be out catching the people that broke in my car not a loving dog owner.


  7. Nigel Simpson: Always remember, there is no justice in the “Justice System”. That’s why I retired from it early; after 20 years, I couldn’t take the BS anymore. It all seemed so pointless and unjust.

    Jacqueline S. Chavez: That does it, the whole thing pissed me off. I can only imagine how angry you are, thats just crazy insane!!! Poor little Skippy.

    Ann Bryant: Yikes … this isn’t sounding good …

    Maggie Herbord: Oh jeez.

    Ann Bryant: Let me know if i can help. don’t exactly know what i could do, but you’ve got my number —

    Kevin Woolery: That’s some bullshit!!!

    Bob Matthews: Like your “dogged” determination

    Donna Stephens: Oh Dennis where do we send our letters to the courts? Do you need an old hippie to chain herself to the courthouse steps?

    Cynthia Hacker Lawhorn: Ohhh my Goodness, Dennis,I thought this was just “A Cute Story!”
    ~ until I seen the tickets, etc.. O-O I am so sure when you get to tell them all about this, well they will see how very INNOCENT it all is, you know! Please let us all know how this turns-out
    ( rules, etc… are made for those who need them, but situations like these, aren’t of the same, at all! It will okay, hang-in there and just love Skippy! God bless yous 🙂 Cindy

    Kimmi Karma: Shouldve plead guilty!! I’ve been mingling. With the courts for over 2 years now. SUCKS! Eventually my story was heard and believed and justice is served…but still 2 more court dates to go. SUCKS. The anxiety builds with each court date, every courtdate you’ll be worrying about the meter. And in the long run….its a damn coin toss to see who wins!
    Charlie is a beautiful dog 😦 Poor homeless thing. And mans best friend Skip, is obviously worse fighting for! But in my experience – pick and choose your battles wisely! Best of luck to Skip! (I love my Roxy but there’s not as many animal lovers in the court system!)

    Georgette Izen: What began as another delightful story about Skip is turning out to be a very serious matter. Best to consult with an attorney ASAP. I feel so badly that you and your sweet puppy are going through this because of one power hungry jerk. I’ll do what I can to help.

    Amy Dumar: Dennis- just love the wanted picture of Skip, she looks so innocent. I hope you’re doing well.

    Selina Jackson: good luck with court, hope all goes well

    Georgette Izen: Be sure to let us know if Skip’s in the slammer!

    Sherryl-Annette Snyder: Cant wait to hear how it went for you and Skip.

    Gina Clymer Ledesma: I love the wanted picture. So cute.

    Christy Vogel: I know where skip lives!! Booga booga!! 😉

    Debbie Savage: ooooh someones in trouble, what did skip do now?!

    Sue Horner-Habel: Awww that;s sad poor Skip 😦

    Debbie Savage: ugh dennis i just read the story, that sucks big time! did they even bother to go down and harass charlie too?

    Georgette Izen: FREE SKIP!!!!!!

    Ina Triplett: somebody has way too much time or is really bored! lol

    Diane Mckern: Skip needs to skip town lol what a bogus bunch of bs

    Dawn Linde O’Keefe: Oh no. Now she’s even on handbills

    Lisa Gaggiano-Shalgren: omg i love the picture

    Georgette Izen: She looks so sweet and innocent in this pic….

    Annie Slentz: Outlaw Skip is on the run for sure … If he comes down this way, I’ll let you know.


    Mary Lucid: Lil stinker looks to damn cute!

    Shirley Fox: who is going to be the turncoat and turn skip in. hahaha

    Sherryl-Annette Snyder: What happened to.Skip? Darn life gets to be to much sometimes and I fail to keep up.

    Georgette Izen: I sent Skip a contribution to her defense fund. She should have it in a few days! Free Skip!!!

    Selina Jackson: You stay away from that nasty man Skip!

    Pat Jenkins: you tell ’em skip!

    Georgette Izen: Hi Skip! Not to worry, we’re rounding up the best legal minds in the country to take your case.

    Donna Stephens: hoodlum

    Sue Horner-Habel: Don’t worry Skip its all going to be good just you wait and see!

    Jacqueline S. Chavez: Miss SkippY…I will be flying by on my ever so trusty broom in pursuit of your rescue from Mr. Meany Froad! Ta~Da…

    Kevin Dejesus: This is just another case of racial profiling.

    Selina Jackson: don’t worry Skip… no judge in their right mind would condemn you after hearing your story.. that dog catcher is gonna lose big time….

    Heather Kloos: OMG that sounds like our dog catcher here….our dog catcher here gave me a ticket for dog at large because the dog catcher was knocking on my door to talk to me about a neighbors dog and my being protective got out of my fench, but my dog went right back in and I still got a ticket

    Lori Durbin: Poor Skip. She would look really cute in an orange jumpsuit 🙂

    Annie Slentz: i’ll contribute to the keep skip out of jail fund … just let me know where to paypal :>

    Chelsea-Lynn Hank: Wow Nebraska is lame 😦

    Brenda Orf: oh no.. stealling beer huh??? bad Skip…

    Kwkid Harry Carll: looks like he is doing well theeses days hi lil buddy

    Selina Jackson: yeah yeah… blame Skip!

    Donna Garvin: I am waiting for the story……

    Ruth Murphy: fugitive?? that little cutie??

    Peggy Joan Moshier-McCauley: He’s adorable, and he’s always with you, so how can he be a fugitive?

    Debbie Savage: hope all is well with ya dennis!

    Donna Garvin: Well, he has been radio silent since announcing this info..perhaps he is waiting for bail money??

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Scott says:

    Maybe it’s time to start a “petition” for clemency? Scott “71”


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