“Planned service changes,” as all New Yorkers know, is the MTA’s way of saying “no trains all weekend.”
Now planned service changes are being announced by the NY state courts (“Painful but Unavoidable: Courts Trim Jobs,” NYLJ 5/19/11). Long lines and delays will become so normal that Kafka’s dark parable “Before the Law” will look simply utopian.
These service changes are supposedly necessitated by 367 job cuts statewide. “These are real people,” the Chief Administrative Judge hastened to explain, forestalling suspicion that they were imaginary or had been dead for years.
A suburban jurist, opining that the public looks to judges as “field generals,” explained that they could only be “as good as our troops” (“Union Preserves Court Officer Jobs with ‘Welfare’ Fund,” NYLJ 5/20/11). He warned that there will be delays in moving defendants from holding facilities to the courtroom.
Well, that would be new.
These “field generals” don’t seem to exert much control over their troops, who can take all day to bring someone up the elevator from the pens to the courtroom. We have yet to hear a judge squawk about it. Imagine Rommel patiently waiting for his 7th Panzer Division to come back from their break so they could finish invading France.
Judges are more like Benito Cereno in Melville’s story of that name, who appears to be the captain of his ship, but is actually the helpless prisoner of his murderous crew. It takes the visiting Captain Delano nearly 100 pages to figure this out.
Captain Cereno, however, had no illusions. He knew who was running the ship.