Recently, the trotting up Maine county courthouse steps to title search deeds, get a few copies of survey plat maps, something new introduced.
Metal detectors to walk through on the way across the first floor court house lobby. To hit the rows and rows of history smelling old property volumes in the registry of deeds.
There was a Maine murder trial underway upstairs in the courthouse.
The accused an elderly man with an old cold case being reheated and due process renewed, underway. But why the metal detectors and two personnel with earpieces, badges to run the empty your pockets, step through now back? The let’s try it again. Ditch that belt buckle routine like at the airport screening before the peanuts, beverage and maybe an in-flight silver bird movie. Please have your two dollars ready for the head set if not napping instead. The helpful correct change for something stiffer to nurse if you are nervous, anxious flying.
I asked the shirt, tie, blazer pair of fellows with dark pants, gray blazers how it is determined the extra security of setting up the portal to scan for metal is needed or not? One volunteered it was toward the end of the budget year, money left over so that was a pretty good reason to set up shop. Camp out for the cold winter week of weather during the warm, inside trial work deliberations. While waiting for a verdict to be hammered out. Recited loudly for all to hear by the standing up jury foreman.
The security pair looked bored stiff.
Sitting on hall benches. One hopping up when a stray wandered in as the front or side door opened. They bagged, tagged me three times. No one ever in line to cause a wait, delay when I made the pit stop to hit the registry a that week. The twins sitting, alternating roaming the halls. Studying old black and white images of past justices that tended the important job of holding up the legal scales. To determine guilt, innocence or somewhere in between shades of legal gray.
One court house screener told me his boss, if he had his way, would like to see the metal detector set up permanently all over Maine’s courthouses. Not just a hit or miss road show. Of stand up the doorway, then hit the highway, tear down mobile appearances. I could see if we lived in Chicago, a famous, notorious mob boss was on trial. Lots of threats on his life were circulating. Multiple change of venues happening to cool, soothe tensions, emotions. Maybe the metal scan is needed in Portland Maine judicial locations. Not so much in county seats in Aroostook, Washington, Piscataquis Counties.
Metal detector screening for someone high profile for murder trials, if we had gangs, where there is a flight risk and the extra caution belt and suspenders needed.
To up hold the due process, to protect the accused. The witnesses, their army of spiffed up, cuff linked, monogram shirt three piece attorneys. To orchestrate the ready freddy to testify and raise their right hand trial appearances. To be sworn in to tell only the whole truth so help me God. To add their two cent pieces in the who, what, where, when and why it all really happened of the legal puzzle piece collection.
As I got my searched for deed copies, scribbled my notes and left the registry the last day of the trial and metal detector screening, I thought what better job could the two security gentlemen have had that long, not much happening week. Of pretty slow, hanging around the first floor of the court house. First thought was weatherizing Maine houses. So the sweetheart elderly widow with walker inside this one, or the house full of rambunctious kids in that one could get some much needed insulation.
To end up spending less money they did not have. Shelling out the cash lacking, in tight supply to heat their respective homes or apartments this Maine winter.
To keep pipes, people, house pets from freezing. With a north facing new insulated storm window or two added here. Weather stripping sealing in the front and back door there. And like a sundae, top it all off with another six inch blanket. Pile it on thick of fiberglass strips or loose material with a high R value cherry on top in the attic.
Applying what might be needed in a big state like Maine in one place where the population is way higher the closer down the pike you get to the big green bridge at the other end. To smaller, eleven people per square mile rural areas in the other corners might be misplaced, wasteful in the 4th lowest crime state. Where those hinterland frugal locations are half that pretty impressive state lawless figure. Expenditures that could be avoided to cut costs. Or money shifted, better spent in other areas where the needs are greater, the return sweeter win win. It’s always a challenge, full time best practice exercise in a state like Maine.