It’s not what you know, it’s still who you know |

It’s not what you know, it’s still who you know

JANE JOHNSON, Wellington

A plaintiff sued for the balance due on a 1988 vehicle he sold to defendants.

The plaintiff told the defendants that the vehicle was in good running condition. They took him at his word (he is well known in town), but low and behold, within the first 24 hours, numerous problems surfaced which the plaintiff had tried to conceal. The vehicle was unsafe to drive. The defendants put a hold on the check and unsuccessfully attempted to return the vehicle or reach some kind of compromise.

Court convened the morning of Oct. 5 in Minden. Defendants arrived at 9 a.m. with statements from mechanics, pictures and miscellaneous paperwork for their defense. The plaintiff was already there visiting with a friend from the sheriff’s department.

What followed was a travesty of justice. It turns out the judge is a friend of the plaintiff. He listened intently to his friend, after which he gave the defendant a chance to state his case. A few minutes into the defendant’s statement, the judge abruptly interrupted saying he had heard enough with no consideration. Being on a first-name basis, he addressed the plaintiff, asking him if he had a problem with the judgment being passed at this time. Now, it isn’t even a matter of who was right of wrong, it is a matter of getting your day in court, a chance to defend yourself.

The defendants were not even allowed to submit any pertinent information for their defense and were stopped short in their verbal defense. In previous cases presented that same morning, the defendants were allowed to submit evidence in their defense. It is very evident the defendants here did not have a fair hearing. In light of an unethical situation, justice was not served. It seems in our judicial system, it’s not what you are, it’s who you know.