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Play Day in the Court House

Going to court enlightened me on some things. First, never sit next to a dude who’s about to have a court case because he will do the most annoying things to pass the time. Second, even if you don’t try to eavesdrop, you will hear some interesting things if you sit near lawyers. Lastly, people at the courthouse are really friendly. Well, at least at Towson’s circuit and district court.

I had to do this as a requirement for my CRMJ 254 class. Sounds like fun right?

When I first entered the courthouse, I had no clue where to go. Before I could enter the place, a guard told me I had to enter through the other end. After running around the side of the courthouse, I ended up taking off anything metal. I even had to take my belt off which made me feel a bit awkward.

Once I had been given clearance to go ahead, I immediately went to the desk woman to see if there were any criminal cases at the time. Lucky for me, every single courtroom, except room one had a criminal case. So I ended up choosing room two because a lot of people were standing around it. I made sure to ask an authority figure if it was okay to just enter a courtroom before I attempted to enter. I must have looked like a deer in headlights because the man gave a “You really don’t know?” look.

Inside the courtroom, the atmosphere was thick with silence. The buzz of the lights could be heard over the faint breathing from a person right next to me. I felt a bit unnerved. Just waiting for the case to get started felt a little suffocating. I couldn’t even imagine how people who were going to be trialed must of felt.

As soon as the lawyer entered the room, the atmosphere began to get lighter. A small amount of banter began and the guy next to me couldn’t sit still to save his life. Eventually a female judge came into the room, but court still hadn’t begun that instant. Instead, the judge joined in the small talk with the lawyers and the people in the room.

When the court case had officially begun, the judge introduced everyone involved with the process. She then called the convicted man to the stand. The defense attorney talked to the man about what he could and couldn’t do to which the man quickly agreed with.

The prosecutor began to assess the alleged situation to the judge. The man had allegedly been driving under influence. The prosecutor also mentioned that in 2008 he had a hit and run charge. It seemed like the judge was giving a life lesson to the man instead of it being a discussion or questioning. In the end, the guy under trial ended up paying a large fine and probation.

I wasn’t quite satisfied with the case since it was so quickly resolved, so I decided to enter another courtroom. In this room a person who had been arrested didn’t show up for court due to being retained for some reason. Instead I got to watch another drunken driving case. This one was a bit more interesting because the person under trail had a license for Florida instead of the Maryland.

The judge seemed to be a bit more personable with the person under trial this time. That changed when the judge started asking him what he was thinking and how stupid it was to drive drunk. The case began to slow down which caused the person next to me to start dozing off. A lawyer from the row behind me told him to “stay with us.” How someone can sleep in a courtroom is beyond me.

Overall, the courthouse struck me as loose and not very orderly. People could pretty much get up and go without disturbing the judge or people involved with the case. The people around the courthouse were nice as well. Each seemed to be willing to help right away no matter what they were doing at the time. I never thought I’d say my first trip to court was enjoyable.



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