PEORIA -- Anti-war protester Razia Ahmed lined up at the 9 a.m. Peoria County Courthouse misdemeanor "cattle call" on Aug. 28, only to learn that her name was not on the docket and the charges against her had been dropped.
Of course, no one bothered to tell her in advance.
And criminal justice system officials wonder why they're not trusted. They can't even operate an efficient court system. But they can turn out eight police cars to arrest a non-violent protester while murders in Peoria go unsolved!
She tried to learn from the Peoria County Circuit Clerk's office why the charges were dropped, but that office didn't know. She learned that $90 of the $118 bail she was required to post to get out of jail will be refunded.
Apparently the court system keeps the rest, even if the charges are dropped. That's a nice money-making gig for the system.
If she had stayed around long enough to talk to a judge, he might have ordered a full refund, but that would have meant waiting all morning until the hoards of people filling the hallway and courtroom had seen the judge. She left.
"I'm happy, I'm relieved. I didn't want to have to come back," she said.
For background on Ahmed's case, see the story below, and follow the links or click on the Law category.
Several of Ahmed's friends came with her to offer support. Some then went to the federal courthouse, where an anti-war vigil is taking place, to end with a 7 p.m. rally at the Peoria Public Library's downtown branch.