Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Somebody writes in to a law forum with a tale of woe:
A week ago I was caught shoplifting at a local store and my court date is tomorrow. ...

I was going to ask for a PD (counsel) on my court date because after I pay the stores $200 civil fine and whatever fine that the courts will give me providing they don't lock me up and I have to make bail, I just won't have the money for counsel. Not to mention the fact that I have not told me husband about the incident because I don't want him to worry or stress over my stupidity and I did not want my kids to find out. What procedure do I need to go through when I get called before the judge and requesting counsel?

I have one final question for you. I have been told not to admit premeditation, but my excuse (not like there should be an excuse) is better than saying, "I don't know why I did it." My excuse is it was a fraternity stunt. I had to either get select items from the store or I had to inflict bodily harm on someone, and I personally felt that stealing was better give the options. I do totally understand however that my decision was poor altogether and I am a total idiot for doing it to begin with; however, I thought the fraternity would look good on the old résumé when I graduated. Anyway, would the truth be better than the old I don't know why or should I say I don't know why I did it?
A bit short in the internal consistency department? Or have college fraternities now opened their doors to married women (with children)?


  1. Mmm, depends on the "fraternity". For instance, there's an Education honorary "fraternity" (Kappa Delta Pi) which is co-ed and not restricted to only single 19 year-olds looking to pad Ye Olde Resume.

    HOWEVER, I surely don't remember being asked to do anything illegal when I was inducted ~15 years ago. (And these days, I see they're calling themselves an "honor society" instead of a "fraternity", but whatever.)

  2. It would be a bit of a stretch, given the wording, and would be rather peculiar for honor society hazing (I mean, did Kappa Delta Pi ask for anything more than, say, shaving your eyebrows off, or wearing your pants backwards for a day?)....

    But hey - maybe Skull and Bones is now accepting women. ;-)

  3. They actually didn't ask for much of anything. We did an "educator's scavenger hunt", which entailed annoying some of our professors...and then we had a nice dinner!

    But anyway, my point was that not all fraternities are necessarily confined to single, college-aged men. There are several nationwide co-ed social fraternities. I'm not sure I buy the defendant's line of BS, but it's not too far out of the realm of possibility that she does actually belong to a fraternity.

  4. My impression was that the fraternity part was more likely to be true than the "husband and kids" part. A fraternity wannabe concocting a persona as a married mother to submit an inquiry seems, to me, to be more likely than a married mother so desperate to join a fraternity that she takes to stealing (as an alternative to a random act of violence).

    Interview enough petty criminals, and you will find that many have difficulty keeping their story straight. (Mark Twain: "Always tell the truth; then you don't have to remember anything.")

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