‘ How long have you been smoking dope?’

‘ How long have you been smoking dope?’

There’s no good answer to some of Judge Thorne’s questions


“Before you start running your mouth you must enter a plea. If you plead not guilty you will have to sign a scheduling order. You must be here at 8:30, not 8:31 or 8:32 on your trial date. If you are late, I will charge you with contempt,” said Judge Fred Thorne presiding at Marion Municipal Court. The first man called up was charged with having an oversized load. He pled no contest.

“Can I explain?”

“Yes you can.”

“I write permits all the time for people. I know how wide it has to be. I had taken the tires off the heavy equipment so it wouldn’t be too wide. The officer stopped me at night and it was raining.”

“What about your banner?”

“The straps were there but the banner had blown off in the wind and rain. That is why he stopped me in the first place.”

“I’ll dismiss it this time.

You know you got a good deal?”

“Yes, sir. Thank you.”

The next person called up was a woman.

“How do you plead to no insurance?”

“My insurance had expired.”

“Sit down! Why do I give you a 10-minute speech if nobody is going to listen?

Does everyone here know why I told her to sit down?”

The audience all answered – ‘Yes, she didn’t offer a plea.’ A woman charged with speeding pled guilty.

“This is the lady that grabbed my arm at the store. She told me ‘I got to come see you.’” “I’m going to retire.”


“In a couple of years.”

“Do you have a husband?”


“If you had a husband, you would have a constitutional

Judge Fred Thorne right to take care of him.

Where did you get stopped?”

“By the apartments over there,” she pointed.

“You work with inmates?” “Yes.”

“$35 plus court costs and go to driver’s school. I’ve known you a long time. We are getting old aren’t we?”


“At least I am.”

She thought for a minute and said, “Yes, ‘we’ are,” and left the courtroom.

“Come back! I’ll suspend the fine and you can just pay the court costs. Anyone who has to put up with inmates

deserves something.”

A man charged with speeding pled not guilty. “Not guilty? Give him a

trial date. It says here how fast you were driving.

Pretty hard to defend. Your trial will be July 6.”

A woman charged with speeding pled no contest.

“Where do you work?”

“St. Jude.”

“What do you do there?”

“I am in charge of outside services.”

“Are you going to the golf tournament?”


“That is outside.”

“I take care of children when they have to go to other facilities for treatment.”

“Are you from Marion?”

“Yes. West Memphis and Marion.”

“Did you know Margaret Woolfolk?”

“She told me one time that I wasn’t from around here.

I told her I was. I had lived in West Memphis. She said no, you aren’t from around here (meaning Marion).

How long has it been since you had a ticket?”

“Six years.”

“Pay the court costs and go to driver’s school.”

A man came in late and was told to sit on the front row. When his name was called the judge told him to sit back down and wait till the end.

“I was here on time but I had ripped jeans, so I called my mother and she brought me some more to wear.”

“Sit down, I’ll get to you later.”

A woman charged with speeding pled no contest.

“Do you work?”


“How long?”

“Three years.”

“Why were you in Marion?”

“I had a client here.”

“$45 plus court costs and driver’s school.”

The woman who had failed to say her plea came back up.

“How do you plead to no proof of insurance?”

“No contest.”

“Improper child restraint?” “No contest.”

“And no seat-belt for yourself?”

“No contest.”

“Let me see your insurance?”

“It is in my car. Can I go get it?”

“Go! Wait! Did you get insurance after the ticket?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What about the child restraint?”

“I had put the car seat in my mother’s car and when she put it back in my car, we didn’t run the seatbelt through it. My child was buckled in it though.”

“What about your seatbelt?”

“I did not have it on.”

“$195 plus court costs on the insurance. $25 plus court costs on your seatbelt. I’ll dismiss the child restraint.”

A woman called up had a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia pled no contest.

“What are you doing with your life?”

She didn’t have anything to say.

“Who were you with?”

“A friend.”

“How long have you been smoking dope?”

Still no answer or a muffled answer. Then, “A couple of months.”

“I don’t think so. Do you work?”


“Do you have a parent here with you?”

“My grandfather.”

“Grandfather, come up.

What do you think about this? Her and this guy smoking dope?”

“She’s not so bad.”

“That is not what I would have said about my granddaughter! $350 plus court costs. Go pay it.”

A man who ran a stop sign and had too dark of window tint pled no contest to both charges.

“Did you take the tint off?”

“No. It wasn’t my car. It was my girlfriend’s car.

Mine is in the shop.”

“Do you have a job?”

“Yes. In Memphis. I’ve been there nine months.”

“That is good. What do you do?”

“I am a picker.”

“What is that?”

“I drive a fork lift and I pick products off the warehouse racks.”

“When I drove a forklift we just called it driving a fork lift. $120 plus court costs and go to driver’s school.”

The next man was charged with no seat belt and no insurance.

He pled no contest

to his charges.

“Whose car were you driving?”

“It was my car.”

“He also has a driving on suspended,” said the court clerk.

“How do you plead to driving on suspended?”

“No contest. I got my license back.”

“Why were you in Arkansas?”

“I just moved here.”

“Your license is in Southaven?”

“Yes that is where I moved from and I still work there.”

“$195 plus two days house arrest on the driving on suspended. $195 on the insurance. I’ll dismiss the seat belt. Welcome to Arkansas.”

“I’m going back.”

By the Evening Times News Staff