Courtroom 115. Better known as misdemeanor, traffic, and community court. Better known still, according to Judge Michael J. McCarthy, a well-known tough guy, as the busiest courtroom in the country. This morning, from the bench, the judge boasted that his room sees something like 13,000 cases per year. Today, among dozens of cases, was the drunk driving case of Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss.
Strauss sat in the front row with his attorney and listened to McCarthy’s preamble.
“Is Unity Healthcare here yet?” McCarthy called out.
If anyone sitting before him, McCarthy explained, doesn’t have healthcare, they should get with the Unity people when they arrive. “I think you’ll be happy with the results if you take the time,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy then mentioned the city’s detox programs. If you want to get treatment, help is on the way. “We can have a van here within 20 minutes,” McCarthy promised.
McCarthy went on to list job training programs and a mental-health clinic next door.
Strauss just sat in the front row. He did not take advantage of these opportunities. After 4.5 cases were called, Strauss got his opportunity to stand in front of McCarthy.
What did Strauss plead not guilty to?
Three charges—DWI, DUI, and “Operating While Impaired.” Outside the courtroom, Strauss continued to not comment as he headed for the exits.
“I’m not going to comment on the court proceedings,” Strauss said.
I then asked about his huge re-election victory. His lawyer broke in: “You’ll have to go through the regular channel.”
I gave Strauss a look. He stayed on message: “Political interviews really have to go through the….”