A recent legal discussion with some friends prompted some memories from my time at the Portsmouth Police Department.
When an officer’s behavior in court is less than ideal, for example, he’s late, absent or similar, a “Show Cause” is often issued by the judge. Sometimes, in the most grevious of situations, the Show Cause includes the officer’s entire chain of command including the Chief of Police. This is never a good thing.
It is not uncommon, at least in Portsmouth, for an officer’s presence to be required in 2 or more different courtrooms at the same time. Each judge with his or her on opinion of the urgency of their particular court.
I was late for court one day because I was in another courtroom and the trial was taking a little longer than anticipated. The Commonwealth’s Attorney for the case in the courtroom where I was late, asked the judge to issue the Show Cause against me. This is not unheard of but rather unusual for the Commonwealth’s Attorney to request this. (Commonwealth’s Attorney is similar to a District Attorney in 99.9% of the rest of the country.)
I heard about the Show Cause being issued and immediately notified my supervisor. I knew who the Commonwealth’s Attorney was and as I was driving down Crawford Street I saw her walking. Diagonally across the intersection of Crawford and Queen Streets.
Never being one to be outdone regardless of the circumstances, I reminded the Officer of the Court that
§ 46.2-926 requied the crossing of streets at right angles to the flow of traffic and that infractions were a summonsable offense.
I don’t think she liked me any more after that.
§ 46.2-926. Pedestrians stepping into highway where they cannot be seen.
No pedestrian shall step into a highway open to moving vehicular traffic at any point between intersections where his presence would be obscured from the vision of drivers of approaching vehicles by a vehicle or other obstruction at the curb or side. The foregoing prohibition shall not apply to a pedestrian stepping into a highway to board a bus or to enter a safety zone, in which event he shall cross the highway only at right angles.
(Code 1950, § 46-245; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-232; 1989, c. 727.)