Do you know that ‘bail bonds’ are being sold across the street? Such a bail bond is a type of loan to buy yourself free. You pay a particle right away – say about ten percent – and you give the rest as collateral (your house, jewelry or your car). Bail bonds serve to force the suspect to comply with the following appointment in court. If not, you have to cough up the entire amount. If you do show up, you only pay the advance.
Miss Washington – that is the name of my chained neighbor in the second row – moans mearily when she hears her bail. “Oh my god! Oh my god! ”She cries out in front of her, rocking her one leg up and down. Mood swing baby. Two minutes later, she allowed herself to be returned to her prison cell.
She doesn’t have a dollar. She doesn’t own a cent. This is unfortunately an endless street, a wasted life. Even if that is only a gloomy suspicion.
While Miss Washington is being taken away, the following case is already occurring. Rico is an illegal immigrant. He was arrested that night. The judge offered him the choice: either immediate deportation, or waiting for a trial where a jury would decide on his fate, possibly including a prison sentence. It is not a cheerful dilemma.
A lawyer makes a passionate argument for compassion five minutes later. His client: a young man chained to his feet. The criminal lawyer wants to force contact for this guy with his mother. The judge refuses. Mother and son are both in jail for various facts. Contact is forbidden.
The tragedy in the night court is shocking. That also tells me Maria del Carmen who has been interpreting here for Russian-speaking suspects for fifteen years. “I still feel weird and depressed when I do my job here,” she says in a muffled voice during a break in the hallway.
She has seen grandfathers who raped their grandchild bring in, men who beat their wives before bedtime, cold-blooded murderers. She tries to distract me and herself from the tragedy by talking about her husband, Eddie Gomez, the renowned bass guitarist who played together with the world-famous jazz pianist Bill Evans. Really every meeting in New York is full of surprises. What a city!
In the corridor I see the mothers sitting with their prams. With their children who should have been lying in their bed hours ago, but now, in the late hours, stay on the night court. Mothers full of remorse and self-doubt: they want their husband to stop beating them, but they also want to take the same man back. Often the man doesn’t come home for years. Yes, there are many poor single mothers in New York.
Another man comes to court in the courtroom. Tousled clothes, cap backwards, trousers that slobber around his crotch. The man just stole jewelry for $ 100,000. He was caught red-handed.
He may have to spend a long time behind bars: armed robbery, threat with a deadly weapon, violation of probation conditions. Deposit: $ 50,000. Life on the night court is one piece of misery. Pure tragedy, late at night, in a metropolis that never calms down.
“Give him back the time he’s done…”
I walk outside a bit depressed. I have to be able to wash away the abundance of emotions and thoughts. I need a drink. Behind the night court lies my salvation and comfort: the Whiskey Tavern. I order a High West American Prairie Bourbon. Sounds good, but my throat is burning.
I have to pay attention, one drink is more than enough. Or soon I will have to go to the Court of Night Court. Before I step outside, on my way to metro line F on Delancey Street, I drink a large glass of water from the tap. I hear music blaring from the jukebox.
“Give him back the time he’s done… Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a-bone the champion of the world…” Bob Dylan’s Hurricane. Coincidence in life does not exist.