I spend a lot of time in court — not as a defendant but as a reporter who covers the court beat for The Floyd Press. Besides saddle sores from the hard bench seats in the County Courthouse’s one court room I come away with an incredible list of tales of woe from defendants who tell wild, and sometimes, entertaining stories to try and avoid conviction and/or time in jail.
One statistic is amazing: It seems just about everyone who breaks the law in Floyd County is the sole support of a sick relative who cannot be left alone. So many brought before the judge tell hearbreaking tales of how they have to stay out of jail to take care of mom, grandmom or a sick aunt or uncle. They never have an answer on why they weren’t home taking care of mom instead of stealing a car, scoring drugs and leading police on a high-speed chase.
One woman told Circuit Judge Ray W. Grubbs she had an exotic, communicable disease and couldn’t go to jail because others might catch it. When Grubbs asked for a doctor’s statement she replied: "Oh, I haven’t been to the doctor yet but I know I have it."
One woman charged with forging her mother’s check said she "grabbed the wrong checkbook by accident" when leaving the house but she didn’t have an answer when asked why she signed her mother’s name and not her’s to the check cashed at a local store.
General Court Judge Ed Turner hears a lot of incredible stories from those caught speeding, ranging from "the accelerator stuck" to "the speedometer was wrong" to "the radar got it wrong."
But in a recent court session, a Floyd County man caught for speeding told the judge: "I guess it was brain fade your honor. I just wasn’t paying attention."
Turner laughed before giving the man a chance to clear his record by going to driver improvement school.