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No, thank you

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


Stephanie sits at a reserved table near the rear of the new restaurant. She and her husband like the table because itís out of the view from the main dining area. Stephanie isnít a celebrity nor is she a fugitive. Sheís a judge.

Over the years, Stephanie has eliminated quite a few stores and shops from her list. As a judge, Stephanie understands that not everyone likes her. Sheís presided over thousands of cases and she knows that her rulings impact many lives.

She orders a glass of wine. A woman approaches their table and asks Stephanie if she is a judge. Stephanie gives her husband a quick glance attempting to hide her frustration and then she proceeds to introduce herself to the woman.

The woman apologizes for the interruption and then begins:

ďMy name is Alexendria. When I was nineteen I got in trouble. I was using drugs and I forged some checks to try to get money. I totally got caught and I ended up in your court. You really gave me a piece of your mind. You yelled at me for using drugs and for hanging out with a loser boyfriend who had a long history of drugs and crime. I was on probation for underage drinking and you put me in jail for two weeks. You told me I had potential--that I could be someone someday. No one ever told me that.

I was mad at you that day in court. I could barely stop crying. I told you that I would change and start making better decisions. You told me that you didnít believe me. You told me I would continue to struggle unless I started believing in myself. You told me to get an education and to find a passion.

You gave me two years of probation and you told me that if I broke any rules that you would send me to prison. You told me you didnít ever want to see me again in your courtroom. You said that you hoped someday that we might bump into each other long after my probation ended and I could tell you about how great Iím doing in life.

Well, Iím thirty-two now. I graduated from college with majors in culinary arts and graphic design. My day job is at an ad agency and my husband and I just opened this restaurant. Thatís my artwork on the walls.

You probably hear this all the time but I want to thank you for the time you spent with me back when I was nineteen. Your words and actions inspired me to start living the life I am supposed to live.Ē

Stephanie stands and congratulates the woman for all of her hard work and accomplishments. Stephanie then confides that no one had ever thanked her like that for doing her job.


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.