When we are young, most of us are somewhat naive. We are inherently taught that good will always triumph over evil. A courthouse is the forum where evil should be dealt with. But, in reality, this is seldom the case.
The county courthouse looks like a typical courthouse. The courthouse itself looks like a place where justice is served. It is a Romanesque building, three stories high, with large pillars in the front. Ivy grows up one side of the building. The green grass in the courtyard is immaculately kept. The United States flag flies high above the building. Etched in stone on the front wall of the courthouse are the words” truth, justice, and liberty.” This is a place where one should feel truly safe.
As I walk inside the cold and quiet building, a young woman is talking with the circuit court clerk. She is very innocent looking, with blond hair and a petite figure. She seems to be getting more upset by the second. The young lady finally erupts, yelling and almost crying. Her ex-husband has not paid her child support in a month, and she cannot buy diapers for her baby. The clerk tells her that nobody can do anything about it until he is six months behind in his support. After five more minutes of intense arguing, the young lady, now engulfed in tears, leaves. The clerk shrugs and turns around.
The building seems colder upstairs. There almost seems to be a dampness in the air. Down a corridor there are empty offices and paintings of important looking people. I recognize two of them as Washington and Jefferson. In between them is a copy of the constitution. As I read it I chuckle, and wonder if this government is really what they had in mind.
Farther down the hall I hear voices. The general court is in session. Inside the courtroom, a scruffy-looking man is in front of the judge. He has been charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. He does not seem nervous; he has probably done this before. I assume he will be put in jail for a little while, at the least. The judge tells the man that he does not want to see him in court again. The man assures the judge that he will not be back. With the bang of a gavel, the judge gives him a five dollar fine, plus court costs. The man stumbles out of the courtroom already looking half drunk again.
As I walk out of the courtroom, the courthouse seems colder than ever. This is not a place where truth, justice, and liberty prevail. It is a place of tragedy. A place where innocent people suffer because of the system, and where guilty people walk free because of it.