Recently, after driving in the rain for 45 minutes across three counties and merging on and off four highways, I finally arrive within walking distance of municipal court. I look at my watch and I’m 15 minutes early. Court doesn’t start until 6:00 pm. I ignore my anxious client’s calls to my cellphone while I park my car. I grab the file, straighten my tie and run up the stairs of the municipal court.

The same guards who see me week-in and week-out wave me in to court. I see my client in the back pew. He’s irritated and annoyed. I don’t blame him. After all, this is our fourth appearance on a simple assault 2C:12-1(a), and the alleged victim has never come to court.