Justice for Some
On Thursday, I had a final judgment against me for $1,963.27. The court attorney said that if the case went to trial, I would have to be able to prove that I returned the keys to my Bronx apartment in February, as I believe that I did. They claim that they received the keys on April 19, 2012, something I did not previously know, and that is why they demanded rent for April, which was beyond the terms of the lease. As a result, I settled the case rather than pay for a month that I neither agreed to pay, nor had that for which I was paying.
Judge Ruben Franco made sure that I understood that the debt would screw up my credit and possibly interfere with future housing. He also made clear that the debt would remain for 20 years, so the sooner I could clear it up, the better. The judgment contains a contact name and phone number for arranging a payment plan once I am employed.
I do not consider it justice in the slightest that a rich landlord can make a poor person pay for two months (or more) rent on an apartment which the poor person had completely vacated. I am reminded of Len Wein’s Untold Legend of the Batman, which my dad got for me at Cub foods as a mass market paperback. It shows young Bruce Wayne taking a criminology course and finding the law that says a passenger in a joyride is equally guilty of manslaughter if the driver hits someone. The professor says that he is there to teach the law, not philosophical questions of justice.
The best conclusion I can draw is that justice is a myth.
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