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Crossposted to the usualy places!


If some of you were following the most recent installments of Fred The Illegal Builder, you may remember that my neighbor, Dirk, and I were trying to have Fred caught driving and have a judge declare his bond revoked.

(Quick history on this: Fred was caught back last August for DUI and it's his THIRD DUI. He goes to trial April 19, finally. But in the meantime, he's not supposed to be driving anyway, as he had no license (long since revoked) and no insurance. This is also compounded with his other cases, including Fraud, lying on sworn testimony, and civil suits in regards to him cheating as a home builder. After two postponements just on the bond violation hearing, we finally HAVE that hearing today.)

Fred came into court today with his sister and his lawyer. My neighbor, Dirk (not his real name), and his wife Bitsy (not her real name, either) and I were in court at 11AM as scheduled.

Dirk had compiled a videotape of Fred's driveway where early in the day, all of Fred's trucks were in the driveway. But later in the day, two vehicles were gone, thus Fred, even WITH a roommate, must have been driving the other missing vehicle.

The lawyers talked with the judge at first. They came out and decided to have us testify separately, but we all had to be outside of the courtroom and NOT be able to hear each other's testimony. Fair enough.

But Dirk testified first and that ran us into lunch. We had a lunch break and it was about 2PM by the time I was called in to testify.

Dirk and Bitsy were dressed casually, Dirk had dockers and a polo shirt, Bitsy was dressed similarly (had jeans). Me? I was in my best suit, freshly shaved, my hair in a pony tail, and my best tie on. I was dressed better than Fred's attorney for pete's sake.

The judge swore me in.

The fun begins:

(This is as best as I can remember it as it went so fast, so this all might not be in order.)

The first line of questioning is about identifying Fred, how often do I see him driving, and so on.

I had in my hands a list of six typed-up incidents (with dates and times) when I saw Fred drive during the last six months. But I also indicate that these are not the only times I see him, these are the ones I've documented.

Fred's Lawyer: You have a list???
Duck: Yes sir.

I give the list to the judge and he passes it on to Fred's Lawyer. He looks at it and he start to turn white.

FL: When did you type this up?
Duck: The day before the first scheduled hearing we were supposed to have here two weeks ago.
FL: How did you "document" this?
Duck: That list you are reading is a cut-and-paste of several emails that I have typed in and sent.
FL: Sent?
Duck: Yes. Since I work at home, I email my wife and others frequently when things go on at my house while my wife is away. I have more emails on Fred's whereabouts on other issues.
FL: <Dead silence>


The second line of questioning is the event of February 3rd, the time (I posted a note on this) when Dirk and I cornered Fred in the cul-de-sac.

FL: When did this occur?
Duck: A few minutes after 5PM.
FL: What was going on?
Duck: It was the end of my work day and I was going to leave the house to go pick up my kids.
FL: You were coming home?
Duck: No sir. I told you earlier, I work at home. At the end of the day, I have to go out and pick up my kids. It just so happened that as I opened my garage to get into my car, I saw Fred driving out of his driveway. I also saw Dirk.
FL: What happened from there?

I described the scenario, how we followed Dirk to the cul-de-sac, Dirk turned around, drove around us on the shoulder and he headed back home.

FL: Did you decide to "go after" Fred that day and discuss with Dirk how to do it?
Duck: No, it was only suggested to me HOW to do it on recommendation by the county prosecutor's office.
FL: Did you talk with Mr.Dirk that day?
Duck: Not until I caught up with him at the cul-de-sac.
FL: YOu didn't talk with him earlier that day?
Duck: No.

FL repeats this several times and I keep saying no. FL gives up on that. FL was attempting to prove that I had spoken with Dirk that day to plan an "ambush". But that goes nowhere.


But he comes back with:

FL: Do you know if Fred has a dog?
Duck: I knew he HAD a dog, yes.
FL: When was the last time you saw this dog?
Duck: Maybe a year and a half ago.

FL was trying to follow Fred's made up story on how Fred was supposedly called by Bitsy, telling him that his dog was hit on the cul-de-sac and that he DID drive out there, but only to look for his dog.

That didn't go anywhere.


Next line of questioning: Motivation.

FL: What is your motivation in going after Fred?
Duck: Simply because I don't like the idea of having someone living 40 yards from me who is blatantly violating the law and doing it constantly. It doesn't matter if it's Fred or even my convicted brother-in-law, if you're not supposed to be driving, you're not supposed to be driving.
FL: Are you aware that the Dirk's had an issue with Fred.
Duck: Yes.
FL: And you don't have an issue with Fred?
Duck: No.

FL attempts to have me say that I was very aware that the Dirk's had problems. But the Dirk's problem was that Fred's sub-contractors DID crappy work. I didn't have the same issues that Fred had, at least not quality-wise.

FL: Ummm. Do you have an escrow agreement with Fred for $23,500?

(Ah, Fred's lawyer hopes to prove that I'm after him for revenge!)

Duck: Yes.
FL: Are you dissatisfied with the work he did on your home?
Duck: No.

FL turns white again.

FL: No?
Duck: No.
FL: Are you withholding payment because you are dissatisfied with his work?
Duck: No. In fact we are trying to GIVE FRED his money.

FL turns white again and his eyes bug out.

FL: Are you in dispute because of the quality of the work?
Duck: No. We are in dispute of the amount of work completed by the dates set in the escrow agreement. Fred did not complete the work, therefore, he should not receive the entire amount. But we are trying to pay him what he IS owed, but he refuses.
FL: So you're not dissatisfied with Fred's work?
Duck: No, in fact, he does GREAT work. I had only a couple minor plumbing problems that I got fixed quickly, otherwise, Fred has done good work on our home. He even did a great job on our fireplace mantel and we comment about it to our friends all the time. The ONLY contention I have with him is that he did not complete the work required by the escrow agreement. I'm waiting for Fred to act and receive his money.

FL is speechless.


Next line of questioning, back to the chase.

FL: Were you told by the county prosecutor's office to go after Fred?

I wrinkle my nose and look at him confused. I don't follow.

FL repeats his question.
The County Prosecuting Atty objects.

CPA: You and I did not have conversations to tell you to go after Fred, did we?

I wrinkle my nose, confused.

DUck: I'm not quite following here. I spoke to either you or your co-worker in your office.
CPA: We talked, we had emails, but we didn't tell you "to go after Fred", did we?

I finally get it. FL thinks that the CPA was trying to tell me to chase Fred.

Duck: No, I asked your office, "How do we go about 'catching' someone that is not supposed to be driving?".
FL: So you did talk to CPA to catch Fred.
Duck: No (I say with a very strict tone of my voice), I asked THEM how to catch Fred. They did NOT call ME to tell me to catch Fred.

FL gives up on that line.


Next attempt: Other dates.

FL: What about January 28? Can you say what happened there?
Duck: Yes, I was clearing my driveway with my snowblower. Fred had opened his garage, hopped into his Dodge truck, drove out his driveway, and drove up the street.
FL: You've seen him drive other times?
Duck: Yes. The six you saw on my list were ones I emailed, there were many other times, most notably when I put my kid on the schoolbus.
CPA: Please explain what you do in the course of the morning with your kids?
Duck: I take both kids in the car early in the morning, drop off Duckling1, then Duckling2 and I come back and we sit in the car at the end of the driveway, waiting for his schoolbus.
FL: So you've seen Fred drive around this time?
Duck: Several times. He usually takes the Ford truck and heads north up the street at that time.

FL gives up, asks no more questions.


Fred then testifies, followed by his sister. However, we were "sequestered" off so we couldn't hear what Fred had to say, except that we're assuming he was still playing off the story that his dog was hit.

After the FL and CPA give their statements, CPA lets me and Dirk in (Bitsy had to head back to work) and the judge summarizes the hearing and what he thinks/sees.

He says the testimony from Dirk and Bitsy are "somewhat" conclusive, a little convincing, but they have issues as well already. Then he says,

Mister Duck, however, had more specific and detailed testimony, and is absolutely more credible than <Fred>, thus when he stated he has seen Fred drive multiples times, I will agree that is probably true due to the thoroughness of his testimony.

CPA pushes for Jail, FL pushes to not revoke his bond.

The judge indicates that he won't revoke Fred's bond for "going out to drive and attend to his dog", but since that it WAS likely that Fred has been driving, Fred must be punished.

The county jail is overcrowded and that he (the judge) has "bigger fish to fry", but something must be done. He can't see putting Fred in jail with "just a bond violation". BUT:

Fred's bond is still intact but additional conditions are attached:

1) All six of Fred's vehicles in his yard will be clubbed by the County Sherrif within 48 hours.
2) Fred will be attached to an electronic tether within 14 days and cannot leave his house!
(Or conditions set so that he has to report his whereabouts by whatever tethering system is attached to Fred.)

Well, I'm happy SOMETHING was done.

There is justice.

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