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Court Observation Essay

1488 words - 6 pages

Court Observation

On Monday I visited the District Court. This was my second attempt at visiting a court room; on my first trip I was told the judge did not have a docket for that day. A docket is defined as a calendar of cases awaiting action in a court. Jurisdiction is what gives the courts the power to hear and apply the law to certain types of cases. District Court has original jurisdiction for the following actions; all Traffic and Ordinance violations, all criminal misdemeanors, preliminary exams on felonies, small claims suits, civil lawsuits (amounts up to $25,000), and all contract disputes between tenants and landlords. When I arrived there were a lot of people waiting ...view middle of the document...

Her attorney was asking that the domestic violation charge be abstracted and give her credit for provision 769a for timed served seeing as how she is facing felony charges in another county. The judge gave her a small talk explained to her that a lesson needs to be learned from her pattern of behavior. He then ordered that she is to stay in Jail for fourteen days until transferred to for her felony charges, then he will close her current file and her conviction will go on the record. For the domestic violation charge she was granted a personal bond. The arraignment and pre-trial will be set at a later date.
Next the judge called six people to the floor. I was surprised because that was a lot of names and none of the people were sitting next to each other to all be called at the same time. After the six people were present, the judge explained they were there for traffic violations and that the police officer was not there and their cases were dismissed. There were no other traffic violations on the docket during my observation.
The judge then called People V. Mr. X, who was a tall skinny man with dark hair and glasses. He was there for preliminary exam and a probation violation for attempting to resist arrest and striking an officer. The judge asked the young man to explain what had happened and Mr. X stated that in January of 2008 he was drunk and picked up for a warrant and after he was placed in the cop car he was fighting in the back to get out and he did not try to resist arrest nor did he actually strike an officer but admitted that he had attempted to. The attorney explained that he is already on probation and parole and Mr. X was willing to plead guilty to both counts, waive his rights to a trial and is asking that no extra time be put on his sentence because he is facing felony charges on home invasion. The defendant spoke up and pleaded with the judge that if extra time be put on his sentence he would not qualify for a boot camp program once he in jail for 2-15 year sentence for the home invasion charges. Mr. X felt the program would be good for him and help him turn his life around. The judge then gave him a long lecture stating that he was not happy with his "mile-long record" and did not feel he deserved to be let off the hook. The judge then sat and thought for a moment and then said he did not want to interfere with Corrections and would give him 45 days in County Jail and credit for time served for the seventeen days he was already incarcerated then he was going to be shipped off for the home invasion sentence. The judge ordered Mr. X to have no fines or costs and to close the file.
After a few more cases similar to the previous, the judge called the People V. Mrs. A. This was a hearing for failure to appear for a show cause hearing and failure to pay $445 in court costs for an assault and battery charge. She did not have...

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