As always, it's a process.
We went to court this morning, first thing, bright and early, driving our nervousness through the streets of the low-income neighborhood tucked around the building. After many difficult trips a long time ago, in a more turbulent part of my life, I hadn't been here in years.
I had let myself forget the way actually, so S had to drive while I sat. We were both so edgy I even started up my yoga teacher patter, a soothing commentary to breathe deeply, sit with relaxation, and so forth. That's something different about me from when I was younger -- now I am trained to be aware of tension and relax it.
The building itself was surprisingly pleasant. Nothing was as I remembered it; an upgrade program had created the soft, efficient feel of an airport with the security checkpoints, potted plants placed strategically under skylight windows and large screens displaying the court dockets of the day.
My attorney was keyed-up, almost nervous in his rehearsal of how he would approach our request. He chatted with my husband and me as we waited for the courtroom to be opened. I had forgotten how very sad the people who show up in court look, how poor and downtrodden. And also how out of touch. Okay, people, I know that you're poor and things are hard in your life, and maybe you're even being defiant against this whole system, BUT it is just in your OWN interest to dress up a bit and play the game, okay?? I mean, people were there in jeans, with holes and stains, and sandals, and rumpled t-shirts and baseball hats. As usual, the bailiff thought we were attorneys because our outward branding puts us in that group.
The DA seemed amiable instead of belligerent, and willing to discuss things in a friendly way with my attorney. As soon as the judge appeared, they all three disappeared into a back room for a private conference. I sat and prayed.
The final conclusion : Expungement Granted!! Signed and in effect today. Yay. Yay!!! It's super confusing and not commonsensical, but it basically means that I am no longer convicted. (Although I am still a felon.) So now if I wanted to look for a job, I can mark NO, that I have never been arrested and convicted, and California Labor Code says that they cannot consider the expunged offense in hiring, firing, or promotion.
Reduction denied, and relief from registration unsure. The judge agreed to hear the case, but acceded to the DA's request for more time to consider/prepare any opposition. We go back in two more months for that BIG decision. That's the one I want, but I can wait two more months. And it does seem like the judge is already leaning that way, or he would have simply denied it today and washed his hands of it, sending it to a different court.
It was hard to be there, and it's hard to wait. On the other hand, I am now WAY better off than I was yesterday, and I was doing pretty darn well in my life yesterday. I'll be glad to simply have it all finally settled and cleared up.
I do have to say that my attorney's strategy was brilliant, and it worked perfectly!!! He may use annoying cliches, but he is one smart, competent guy and he has my best interests at heart. I am so grateful.