Assault With Intent to Cause Baldness

Arthritic widow Dorothy Richardson is set to stand trial for battery on a police officer. The alleged crime? Hair pulling.

As her case slogs through the state court system, Richardson has grown increasingly frustrated. "This has been going on since February. I been to court six damn times. This foolishness has got to stop. That police is just putting a lie on me and lies don't sit in God's book," she rasps, waving her cane at the portrait of Jesus that dominates her tiny sitting room. "They got kids out there all over the place selling drugs and doing crime. I'm on medication. Why they want to waste their time on me?"

Rosa Rodriguez, Richardson's public defender, wonders the same thing. Rodriguez classifies the case as "absolutely ludicrous," especially given that Alfredo Hernandez had a full day to consider whether the charge was worth filing. "If what she did was so heinous, why didn't they haul her off right then?" Rodriguez asks. She says she understands her client's refusal to accept the prosecutor's plea. "The question should be: What is the State Attorney's Office doing, taking on cases like this in the first place? I mean, when this woman was in court, it was pathetic. She was struggling to get up to the podium." (Prosecutor Dan Gonzalez says he cannot comment on pending cases.)

Hernandez remains undeterred: "That was a good, solid arrest. No question about it: What she did is a crime. She's alleging now that she's not, but that night in question she was very spry and active. She said she was sorry several times afterwards, but it was too late. She was under arrest.

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