Well, it is done! It wasn't without a speed bump, however. I arrived on time (8:15) and went directly to the courtroom as I was told. I sat in a completely empty room for about five minutes, and I wondered if I had misread my instructions. Of course, I didn't have them with me. So I stepped out and to the clerk's office to ask. Yes, I was right. She advised me to return and wait, and she said she would be sure they knew I was there.
Another five minutes and a woman came in, said hello, and sat at the State's bench. Hmmm. Do I need an attorney from the state for this? Oh, well. More attorneys came in, chitchatting and quietly discussing pleas and sentencing. Hmmm, again. Looks like I may not be first on the docket, so I slipped out to my car and got a book to read.
Civilians enter in small groups. Wow, do I get an audience? Interesting. More waiting. soon it is 9:00, and still no judge or court officials. However, certain attorneys were going in and out of the door to the judge's chambers, and I heard talk about "him" being brought in when his attorney arrived. Wha???
Finally, a few minutes after 9:00, the judge, bailiff and all the legal sorts flock in, we rise and sit again, then the door opens again, and a man in shackles and handcuffs is brought in and seated at the defendant's table. Sighhhhhhh. Geez, how long is this going to take? In reality it took less time that it will take me to write it, I suspect.
I sat and listened to an interesting, if disturbing, case. A man was charged with several counts of sexual contact with a minor. He had entered a "no contest." He had a translator, and the judge discussed with him very thoroughly, through the translator, the meaning and outcomes of such a plea. Interestingly, his rather large family was present, one woman sitting a few seats away from me sobbing. Across the aisle was another, smaller group, which turned out to be the three children he molested and two adults, I assume parents.
Sentencing didn't take place today, but it sounds as if all attorneys agreed to a recommendation of 9 years per count/child. I guess he will be going away for about 27 years. Oh, if they were all so simple and direct. I sat through many such trials in KC where the perpetrator denied everything, forcing scared little children to have to testify and then sometimes getting a slap on the wrist. Anyway, back to me .... and it is about me, isn't it?? LOL!
After all the above was covered, everyone stood up and exited the courtroom. HUH??? Hey!! I'm here!!!
So I went again to the clerk's office and inquired. The judge and the bailiff were both stunned. They thought I was part of the previous proceeding! Uh, no. The judge flushed and apologized profusely, then asked me to step back around to the courtroom. She came back in, once more robed and with gavel, asked me a couple questions about my stated reason for the name change, and declared me "done." She called me "Mrs. Fliberdygiberdydoo" right up until she pronounced my name officially changed, and she then called me "Ms. Wiget." Right on the nose with that!
So, it is done. I'm officially, legally myself. And it actually took just about 3 minutes!
They all felt so badly about the mix-up that they gave me, free of charge, several certified copies of the document. Well, I guess an hour and a half of my time was worth, let's see, that saved me about $5.00. Yep, worth it. LOL!!
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PS at 3:54 - I have to drive to Roswell tomorrow to change my Social Security. That is the closest office, and I have to present the court document AND an official document such as my driver's license to prove my old name. I could mail them in, but then I couldn't drive!! Duh. And I can't change ANYTHING else until I get the SS card back, about 10 days. My boss just pointed out to me that I am actually illegally documented now since my documents don't match my legal name!! He's threatening to tip off the Border Patrol! Guess I'd better lay low, as my now-kindred elements would say. Shhhh. Don't give me away!!