Friday, April 1, 2011

A Day in Court

Our legal writing class assigned us to observe one hour of a trial court at a civil or criminal trial. We've had all semester to do this but I waited until now to finally do it. We have two more weeks but I put this off long enough. I went to a local courthouse and observed four cases. All but one pleaded guilty. The fourth pleaded no contest. All but one were inmates at the county jail.

  1. One guy stole checks from his girlfriend while she was in jail. He wrote $1400 of bad checks. He plead no contest.
  2. Another guy , an electrician, stole a client's credit card at a job he was doing at her house.
  3. A woman bought a car using a check from bank account that had been closed-out by the bank a month before the car purchase. She said she was expecting some settlement money in the range of $100,000 and thought the money would be there.
  4. The fourth guy stole a bottle of Courvosier at a liquor store. The guy came from NY to attend his mother's funeral last summer and has not left since. The prosecutor told the judge the defendant's lengthy list of priors. However, the prosecutor wasn't seeking the maximum penalty of 5 years. "It wasn't the crime of the century" he said. The court knew this guy had mental issues and probably wanted to get this guy back to NY and out of their hair. I'm sure the defendant felt the same way.

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