In the State of Oregon v. Strickland (name changed)
before the honorable Judge John Lowe.

I arrived at the Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City, Oregon at 1:17 pm on May 7, 2003. I consulted the day's docket of cases and their locations, and did not find Mr. Strickland's name listed in any of the cases. I did notice that at 1:30 pm an "out-of-custody" arraignment was scheduled, and deduced that it was to be the correct location. It was. Many files were on the desk in front of the judge. I would say about 30. Of this amount, only 10 were present at the hearing. This amazed me. How many people are out wandering with a warrant for their arrest these days?

At about 1:45 the clerk called up Mr. Strickland. He was dressed in black, wrinkled thin-material pants and a cheap polo shirt. He looked like a poor spa salesman, dressed in passable Mervyn's semi-professional attire. His jacket was red and black bearing the name “Canada” across the back. It looked like the type of jacket that would be given out to employees at a company meeting, a mass-produced easy-to-please the wannabe sailors of the baby boomer world. My first thought upon seeing him was "here is a gray man." Despite the colors in his clothes, his face had a distinct grayness to it, along with a thin off-white beard and what looked to be the least-expensive glasses on the shelf. Despite his gray appearance, Mr. Strickland did not seem to be above the age of fifty. As he spoke to the judge, I noticed that he was soft-spoken but seemed intelligent. He had a faint variant accent to his words; I could not tell from where. His sentences were complete, and stated with measure and care. Mr. Strickland did not appear crazy or even psychologically impaired in the least, in fact, he was most composed of all the defendants I'd seen at the court.

The judge asked Mr. Strickland if he has an attorney. Strickland said that he does not, and requested a court-appointed lawyer. "Due to budget cuts," said Judge Lowe, Strickland is to return July 16 at 1:30 or a "warrant will be issued for your arrest." Out of the 15 or so people I saw getting arraigned/reassigned, Mr. Strickland was the only to request a new date due to something conflicting with his schedule. (He did not say what that thing was.) The date for his obtaining a court-appointed attorney was moved up to Wednesday, July 29th at 1:30 pm.

As he was walking out, I noticed that Mr. Strickland carried a sorry looking black briefcase and a blue athletic bag.

Total Speculation & Impressions:

Mr. Strickland struck me as someone who is probably unhappy with his life, probably depressive. He seems like someone who isn't always aware of what they are doing, lost. I would not classify him as a professional thief psychologically, but instead someone who got caught up in a circumstance, an idea, and probably took it further than he even noticed he was. Perhaps he gambles. That could also contribute to his underlying grayness that seemed to pervade him. Mr. Strickland is obviously poor, probably in a rut. His clothing and briefcase belied someone who was trying to "play the game of life" on a shoe-string budget. The only valuable-looking thing on him was a gold-colored watch.