Thursday, July 3, 2014


When I first sat at the desk previously occupied by Hon. Kenneth W. Bull, and opened the top drawer, I found a hacksaw blade with a note on it:  “Judge:  Keep this handy in case you ever get so confused that you send yourself to jail!”

There have been days, but not THAT bad!

I also found a mimeographed page that explained the hierarchy in the Courthouse.  (For those under age 50, you may not know that one of the favorite TV shows when I was growing up was Superman.  It opened with “Faster than a speeding bullet.  More powerful than a locomotive.  Leaps tall buildings in a single bound.  Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  No, it’s SUPERMAN!”)

With that opening, here is “The Legal Hierarchy – Who’s on Top”

The District Court Judge leaps tall buildings in a single bound, is more powerful than a locomotive, is faster than a speeding bullet, walks on water, gives policy to God.

The County Court Judge (Note:  there were County Judges until the mid-1980’s) leaps short buildings in a single bound, is more powerful than a switch engine, is just as fast as a speeding bullet, walks on water if the sea is calm, talks to God.

The County Attorney leaps short buildings with a running start, is almost as powerful as a switch engine, is almost as fast as a speeding bullet, walks on water in an indoor pool, talks with God when special request is approved.

The Assistant County Attorney barely clears a Quonset hut, loses a tug of war with a locomotive, can fire a speeding bullet, swims well, occasionally is addressed by God.

The privately retained defense attorney owns tall buildings, but is in default, derails speeding trains, keeps a pistol in his desk, passes water, uses God as an expletive.

The Court Administrator makes high marks on walls when trying to leap tall buildings, is run over by locomotives, can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury, talks with animals.

The Deputy Court Administrator lifts tall buildings and walks under them, kicks locomotives off the tracks, catches speeding bullets in her teeth and eats them, freezes water with a single glance.  She is God.

Now, as I prepare to leave my desk in the Sibley County Courthouse for the last time next week, I wonder what artifacts I should leave in the desk for the judge who will occupy it after me….

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
Next Week:   The Parting Glass