According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Going to Court With Sam

Friday, December 9, 2011

Going to Court With Sam

Wednesday, Sam and I posted our (my) thoughts on being summoned to jury duty. Sam wanted to know why he couldn’t go to court with me.

“Dogs aren’t allowed in courtrooms,” I told him.

“What about seeing-eye dogs?” Sam asked.

“I suppose they’re okay,” I answered.

“What about service dogs?” Sam asked.

He had me there. As far as I know, so-called service dogs are allowed to go anywhere that the general public goes. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that your service dog is allowed legal access to any facility or business as long as you meet the requirements that you are a person with a legal disability and that your dog meets the requirements of a service animal.

Supposedly, you can take a service dog into privately-owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxis, theaters, concerts, sports facilities and so on. Laws in each state may differ slightly, but generally speaking, in addition to the afore-mentioned private places, you also can take service dogs into public places and on public-transit systems, including buses, trains, boats, planes, and etcetera.

If someone refuses to let you into their business or onto public transit, they are in violation of the law. You just tell them you have a disability and they are not allowed to ask you what your disability is or to demand proof that you dog is a certified service animal. Of course you make it easier on yourself and everybody else if you do carry certification with you or on your dog.

But a court of law? I don’t know. Judges are like gods in their courtrooms. I can see one saying to me, “Prospective Juror number 303, you are not allowed to bring a dog into my courtroom.”

“But Sam’s my service dog.” I insist.

“Afr, arf,” Sam says in affirmation.

“What is your disability 303?” the judge asks, “and do you have certification that your dog is a service dog?”

“No disrespect judge,” I say, ‘But I don’t think you are allowed to ask me that. The ADA law . . .”

“I am aware of the ADA,” the judge roars. “And I am about ready to hold you in contempt of court sir!”

“Arf, arf.” Sam says.

“IF I allow your dog in my courtroom, you must keep him quiet,” the judge says.

Then, horror of horrors, Sam jumps off my lap, saunters over to the district attorney’s table and raises his leg.

“Sam!” I yell.

A large puddle of pee appears on the floor. The audience laughs uproariously.

“Silence!” the judge gavels again.

“I’m really sorry about that your judgeship,” I say. I took Sam outside before we came here, but . . .

“Juror 303, I . . .”

About that time Sam squats squarely in front of the judge’s bench and lifts his tail.

“No –o-o Sam,” I cry.

A malodorous smell wafts through the courtroom.

“Bailiff!” the judge screams. “Escort former prospective juror number 303 and his dog out of here!”

“Sorry sir,” I say on the way out. “Here’s a poop bag,” I say, handing one to the bailiff. “You might need this.”

Sam strains on his leash and momentarily turns around as we’re being ushered away.

“Arf, arf.” He barks at the judge. Then he lets out a low menacing growl. At that point I pick him up and run as fast as I can.

It could happen you know.

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