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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

From the prosecutor files

I'm a criminal prosecutor by trade.  It's a great job, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else.  Now granted, that's mostly because I don't have a great imagination.  Most of my alternative career ideas end up sounding a lot like the money-making plans of the underpants gnomes (i.e. Step 1: steal underpants, Step 2: ??????, Step 3: PROFIT!). 

Sure, my job has it's problems.  For one, contrary to popular believe, prosecutor's are not very well liked in the community.  The people involved in the criminal justice system, defendants and victim alike, don't want my help.  If I'm not locking them up personally, I'm locking up one of their family members.  Let's just say that putting people in jail isn't the best way to encourage participation in the system. 

In fact, if I were a superhero I'd probably be Robin.  Nobody wants to be saved by Robin.  They figure that he's just going to F everything up.  And even if you do agree to let him save you, you'd probably rather be saved by Batman.  At least then you might end up on TV.  If there's one thing all defendants like, it's being on TV.  Most of the time, with their shirts off.  Seriously, do criminals even own a shirt?

I also don't really have any skills from my job that are useful in the outside world.  When people find out I'm a prosecutor, they usually make a comment similar to, "Well, I guess you're a good person to know in case I get in trouble."  Don't be that guy.  That's the stupidest thing you could say to me. 

Okay...for one, no...I'm not a good guy to know if you get in trouble.  That guy is called a criminal defense attorney.  He can spring you from the joint.  If he's worth his salt, he can probably find a loophole in my case to squeeze you through.  Then he will smile, take $5 to $10K from you, and drive away happily in a car you will never be able to afford.

I'm not that guy.  For one, I drive a Ford F-150.  I feel like my truck is a good metaphor for my job.  It's big, it's bad, and it will roll over your ass.  If you get in trouble, I'm going to be the first person to try to bury your ass in jail.  Then I will probably snicker like a villain in a James Bond movie.  Maybe even stroke a cat menacingly. 

It's not that I can't do a favor for you and give you a plea deal.  I can do anything with any case.  It's that I won't.  No offense to you personally...it's just my job.  It's not that I don't like doing favors for people at work.  It's that I like my job a hell of a lot more than I like you.  I would lock my best friend up if he did something wrong, and I would probably feel pretty good about it.  I might even taunt him a little bit while he's behind bars.  Maybe hold a sandwich just out of his reach.   

What I do like about my job, and the reason I come back day after day, can be boiled down to six words:

You can't make this shit up! 

This is also what makes me fun at parties.  My work stories are generally pretty good.  I hope to share a few of them with you guys from time to time, both because they are funny and so that I don't forget them.  The names and facts of these stories have not been changed to protect the innocent, because the actors are not innocent.  They are dumbasses.  Enjoy!


This is a story from a judge that has since retired.  It starts out in a Sam's Club in a yuppie suburb in the southern Twin Cities.  Sam's Club may seem to most like the premier wholesaler of suburban consumer culture.  To me, it's the premier wholesaler of work to my desk in the form of financial transaction fraud. 

Mostly this is because Sam's Club accepts three, and only three, of the most ancient forms of payment known to man: checks, cash, and Discover card.  They would probably take a wooden nickel, or some brightly colored sea shells from you for payment if you asked nicely.  They explain that they only accept these types of payments to keep costs down.  I thought they sold toilet paper in packs of 100 to keep prices down...but I digress.  Anyway, because they take so many checks, they also lose a lot of money due to check forgery and fraud. 

The only weapon that stores like this have to combat check fraud are the watchful eyes of their store clerks.  Sometimes it's difficult, because thieves use fake ids or other trickery.  It's not difficult when, as happened in this case, a middle-aged, heavy-set black woman walked up to the cashier and attempted to buy several hundred dollars worth of merchandise using the driver's license of a small, thin, 32-year old white woman.  I don't care how much you doctor that fake id, you can't make Jennifer Hudson look like Jennifer Garner.  Needless to say, the black woman was arrested on the spot.

A few days later, she made a court appearance in front of this now-retired judge.  After reading the police reports, the judge wanted to understand what would possess someone to engage in such idiocy.  So he asked her, "Did you really think you were going to get away with this?" 

The woman replied, "Awww man, I told my friend Hollywood this wasn't going to work.  I'm 45 and that chick was 32!"

The Leg

This is an actual case I handled circa 2005.  It is also my favorite work story EVER. 

So a man meets a hooker in a bar.  This isn't the opener to a joke.  It's a variation on the classic man meets hooker story.  Okay, maybe not classic for you, but it is for me....if you consider my "clientele". 

A man meets a hooker in a bar, and they decide to go back to his place to transact a little "business".  When they get to the man's house, the hooker tells him that she wants to freshen up before their "business meeting" (I'm putting codewords for "sexual relations" in quotes because it's funnier to me that way).  The man lays on the bed to get relaxed and takes off his prosthetic leg.  Because why wouldn't you take off your prosthetic leg before sex?  I dunno.  I guess I've never considered the logistics of stump-leg sex before.

Anyway, the hooker gets done freshening up (which probably means, she pulled a George Michael and did a line of coke off of the toilet or something) and comes out to gaze upon her "client" in all of his glory.  Now I think coming out of the bathroom to see that someone has lost a leg would be a little frightening.  Apparently she found it to be a wealth generating opportunity.  She began looking around the bedroom and noticed that Lieutenant Dan over there on the bed had put his wallet and all of his "man jewelry" on his nightstand.  Sensing she could skip the "pay for play", she runs over to the nightstand, grabs the wallet and jewelry, and starts to leave. 

Apparently before she leaves she thinks a little bit about logistics.  Every great caper needs a great getaway.  And every second counts.  So to aid her escape, the hooker runs back into the bedroom, grabs the prosthetic leg, and runs out of the house.  Way to cripple the cripple!

I think she would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that damn cop that lived right next door...who happened to be getting ready for his night shift in his squad car at that particular moment.  And since skantly clad women don't run down the street with prosthetic legs just every day in Minnesota (maybe California...anyone?), he decided to investigate. 

You have to thank our boys in blue for that one.  Had he not been there, I think dude would have been too embarrassed to make the "hooker stole my leg" call to 911. 

And so began the case that I call "Theft of Leg".  That was my first, and hopefully not last, trip into the skeazy underworld of leg theft. 

Thanks for reading guys!  More to follow!


  1. Yeah, I am totally not above laughing at ibeciles.
    Keep it comin' buddy!

  2. Firefox is eating my comments!

    Totally funny, not you this time, the stories.
    Any barefoot crime stories you can tell us?

  3. Ha ha ha!!! I love the leg story!

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