motto lotto

Monday, July 21, 2008

morning at the courthouse

I spent the morning down at the courthouse. A friend of ours has been accused of a hit and run although she neither hit nor ran. Our friend is an Armenian immigrant with a work visa. Sarah was with her in the car when the supposed accident occurred. Today was the arraignment hearing.

When the case actually goes to trial or pre-trail I think it will be dismissed but there isn't much of a context to get that sort of dismissal at an arraignment hearing. The judge won't look specifically at evidence to keep himself from being influenced if he has to be the judge who presides over the case.

Anyhow, I've never been to an arraignment hearing. It's a pretty educational experience. Defendants plead guilty, not-guilty or no contest and are usually offered a plea bargain. Violations ranged from alcohol/drug violations to traffic violations (street racing in one case) to petty theft. There was a (much needed) Spanish/English translator but unfortunately for us, no Armenian/English translator.

The pre-trial hearing is scheduled for August 19. Our friend makes too much money ($10/hr) to be provided a public defender so we walked over and asked for discovery from the prosecutor's office. She'll probably be defending herself but there are a number of places to get free legal advice we'll check out.


Anonymous said...

It's good that Sarah was in the car with her. I agree that court can be really educational. The one time I went, I was really impressed by the judge. He had to make some (to me) tough calls pretty quickly. Seemed to me he did an expert job.

Mike said...

The judge we had seemed pretty good as well, on top of his game.