|Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto|
At least that's my interpretation. Could I be wrong? Sure. But something the judge said -- and the way she said it -- surprised us, in a positive way. We're not used to getting positive vibes in a courtroom, so maybe I just don't know how to handle (or interpret) them.
Here is a report on Carol's brief appearance, which was in a "cattle call" format, with maybe 15 defendants there while we were present. By the way, it was in the smallest court room I've ever seen. Maybe it's considered a hearing room, and not a court room; not sure about that one, but some people have walk-in closets that are bigger than this room. Jurors in this room probably would have to sit on each other's laps.
The event for Carol was advertised at case.net (Case Number 1631--CRO7731, State v. Carol T. Shuler) as a "bond appearance hearing." We thought that odd because Carol already had made bond, and that was reflected in the docket. We discovered yesterday afternoon that the record had been updated to say yesterday's hearing included an arraignment.
Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto, an appointee of Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, read the charges to Carol, gave her information about the Greene County Public Defender's Office, and set another appearance for 9 a.m. on March 15.
Along the way, Palmietto said the following: "I assume you plead not guilty?" Carol answered yes, but the question caught both of us off guard. Maybe that's because we thought it was only a bond hearing, and it would not involve any questions of such substance.
Palmietto did not actually roll her eyes, but given the tone of her voice, one could imagine her doing that. It was if she was saying, "Dumb-ass deputies and cops bring these kinds of bogus claims against people they abuse all of the time, and the dumb-ass prosecuting attorney lets them slide through every time. Listen, honey, you and I both know these charges are bullshit. You don't look anything like the kind of person who would 'assault' a cop. I knew there was no way you were pleading guilty to this pile of feces."
Is that interpretation wishful thinking on my part? It could be. Did Palmietto use the "I assume" phrase because almost everyone who comes before her pleads not guilty, and her mind has become trained to expect that? That could be, too.
But is it possible we actually have a judge with more than a few brain cells -- one who doesn't automatically buy everything cops or prosecutors put in front of her? Maybe the judge read the probable-cause statement, looked at Carol, and noticed the obvious incongruity?
My amateur psychology on a judge can only go so far, so I will leave it at that for now. But we learned enough about the charges yesterday to leave with a revised version of what might have been going through Judge Palmietto's mind: These charges are worse than bullshit; they are a fraud on the court system and the public -- and they would have to improve drastically to reach the level of bullshit.
(To be continued)