Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Beer, pornography and pot in the courtroom

One of the many cool things about working for a federal judge was hanging out with U.S. Marshals, F.B.I. agents, DEA and Secret Service. The DEA agents were the most fun. The FBI guys had no sense of humor. None. Everything was very serious with them.

But, the lads at drug enforcement liked to play. Often times we went to the K of C after work to drink beer.  After a few drinks we returned to the Federal Building when everyone else had gone home for the night and we laughed at the 8mm pornographic movies they had confiscated. The porn was not that good, but the commentary was hilarious. Or, so it seemed at the time, when I was 27 years old and slightly sloshed. One of the DEA agents could do a perfect imitation of Porky Pig's voice. Imagine a play-by-play analysis of a porno flick by Porky Pig. We were rolling on the floor.

I never did understand why the DEA confiscated porn, except the guys wanted to and they could get away with copping it. When you're looking at hard time in federal prison for dealing cocaine, the fact they improperly snagged your dirty movies is the last thing to complain about.

Once there was a long jury trial of a major drug smuggling operation. Every day the DEA agents would cart in six or seven huge bales of marijuana and stack them right in the front of the courtroom where the jury could see them all day long, and then they would cart them out after the jury was sent home for the day. It was good courtroom theatrics and for some reason the defense lawyers never complained about it.

These big bails of pot were not wrapped in plastic or burlap. They were like hay bales with nothing but bailing wire holding them together. Did International Harvester knew their hay balers were being used for this purpose? I like to imagine that John Deere has a dedicated sales force marketing farm machinery to Mexican pot plantations. Business is business.

Once, after court had recessed for the day and the bales had been removed from the courtroom, I noticed that there was still a lot of loose pot left on the carpet. It looked like about an eighth of an ounce that fell out of the bales. The DEA guys didn't clean up after themselves.

Next morning, the pot that had been on the carpet was gone. I guessed the cleaning guy scooped it up over night and smoked it. Having a generous spirit, I went out of my way to give those bales a little kick with the toe of my shoe when I walked past, to loosen them up some.

My philosophy is a happy worker is a productive worker and nobody ever got killed by a runaway vacuum cleaner.

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