Brian Tran Dr. U. Lynn Jones GOVT 2302 – S11 November 8, 2012 Court Observation Paper For my court observation, I was able to sit in a Texas State District Court. The judge of the court I observed was Honorable Judge Etta J. Mullin. Everything was pretty much what I expected to see. I wasn’t expecting anything outrageous to happen like on the television. I was expecting everything to be very professional and very boring, like watching the C-SPAN channel. The walls were a dull brown color and most of the furniture was wooden.
The Judge sat on a little stand and next to the stand was a seat where people would go to present evidence or tell stories under oath. On the Judge’s right side, there were two rows of seats that the Jury would sit in. There were police officer standing in the room and people sitting down in the audience like me. I couldn’t tell if they were just spectators in the audience, or family/friends of the people on trial. When I first entered the courtroom, I walked in the middle of a court case. Most of the court cases were pretty straight forward. People pleaded guilty and the Judge moved on to the next case.
The most interesting case was an assault because it was assault. The defendant of this case also pleaded guilty, but afterwards the Judge talked with the lawyer to discuss what sort of punishment or jail time he should receive. Because there were three counts of assault, the defendant was fined $40,000 and 3 years of community service. I thought it seemed fairly reasonable since the one of the victims suffered injuries such as skull fractures. I, however don’t think that I am experienced enough to know what is considered a good punishment for a crime. Other cases were simple things, like people being caught with possession of marijuana.
The penalty for that is a small fine. That reminded me of a time when a guy I knew was caught in possession of marijuana on his was to Waco. He was kept in a holding cell and I had to drive to Waxahachie to help my friend pay for his bail. Personally, I have never done any illegal substances, and I believe that it is wrong even when Colorado and Washington had recently made it legal in those states. The experience was new and fresh, but I don’t think I’d ever go back and watch a court case for fun. I can see how the trial could be interesting, but I was fairly bored by the end of my two hours.
It wasn’t as gripping as an episode of Law and Order. A more memorable event that happened while I was at the court house was that one of the people that worked the (in a family court setting) told me a story about this one family. There were 2 siblings, a brother and a sister, and they were trying to get away with taking their Grandmother’s social security check. To do this, the siblings had morphine patches that they would stick on to her spine to make her appear senile. But one day the Grandmother’s friend came over and took her to meet up with the people that worked in the building and everything was good.