Describe the overall mood and ambience of the court. How did you experience compare to media representations?

Short Answer Question

1.

On January 28, 2020, at approximately 8:30 am, I visited the Bellevue Courthouse located at 1309 114th Ave SE # 100 Bellevue, WA 98004. The court sessions began in the BE-2 court room at 8:45 am preceded by the Judge Pro Tem Sue Noonan.

2.

The behavior, in general, was very civilized. The lawyers of both parties and the court clerks were cordial with the people who were present. When the judge arrives in the courtroom everything flows according to the plan, everyone knows what they have to do. Also, the audience members were waiting patiently for their turn.

3.

I have to say that the level of professionalism in court was what I expected only up to some point. The lawyers were prepared for each case, the judge listened to their requests and decided based on their request. The court clerk made sure that each person signs their

4.

Judge: American/ Women/ late 60’s

Clerk #1: American /Women/ late 50’s

Clerk #2: American/ Women/ early 50’s

Defense attorney #1: American / Women/ early 60’s

Defense attorney #2: American / Male/ Mid 40’s

Prosecutor: American / Women/ late 30’s

Prosecutor assistant: American / Male/ early 40’s

Audience member #1: Hispanic/ Women/ early 30’s

Audience member #2: Hispanic/ Male/ late 50’s (Translator)

Audience member #3: American/Male/ late 60’s

Audience member #4: American/ Women/ late 60’s

Audience member #5: American/ Male/ early 30’s

Audience member #6: American/ Male/ mid 30’s

Audience member #7: American/ Male/ early 30’s

Audience member #8: American/ Male/ early 40’s

Audience member #9: American/ Women/ late 30’s

Audience member #10: Russian/ Male/ late 50’s

Audience member #11: Russian/ Women/ mid 50’s

Audience member #12: Russian/ Women/ mid 60’s (Translator)

Audience member #13: American/ Male/ early 20’s

Audience member #14: American /Male/ 19 years

Audience member #15: American/ Male/ late 40’s

Audience member #16: American/ Women/ mid 40’s

Audience member #17: Russian /Women/ late 40’s

Audience member #18: Dominican /Women/ late 30’s (myself)

5.

There were 11 cases in the courtroom at the time I was present, of all of them, two weren’t about drugs. The first one is about parents that made the charge to his son because of domestic violence, it seems that after one breakdown their son became violent and they had to put a court restriction. They claim that their son got better, finished school, and his parents want to give him another chance. They want to build the relationship again, step by step. The judge ruled in favor of their parent and which they luck in this new chapter. The second one is a man who wants the court to permit him to see his daughter with supervision. He physically mistreated his partner while she was pregnant, and the court issued a restraining order. He has more cases of domestic violence and that didn’t change. The only thing that changed is that the judge decided that he could have contact with his daughter only if there was a third person present. The last case the defendant came without a lawyer when the judge revised his document advise him to bring a lawyer the next time. She said he has serious charges and if he doesn’t find the help he will end up in jail. She didn’t mention all the details. All of the other cases most of them were about drugs.

6.

I must say that this is the first time that I’m in a courtroom. I was surprised about how fast everything went through. The judge went from one case to the other without stopping. She heard what the defendant lawyer and prosecutor have to say, and also gave the chance to the defendant to say anything he/she wants to say or clarified. After the judge said her decision, she makes sure that the defendant understands what she said then the defendant sign the paper, at the same time that is happening the prosecutor starts talking about the next case. I have to admit that this proceeding surprised me. I believed that the document was given in different places in the same building. It seems a very efficient method but for me was quite confusing.

The lawyers talk very fast and the only time that I had a clear knowledge of what was happening is when the defendant has a translator, in this case, the lawyer had to speak slower so they have time to translate what they were talking.

7. Describe the overall mood and ambience of the court. How did you experience compare to media representations?

8. Develop your subjective, personal impressions of what you have witnessed and reflect upon the experience.

9. Discuss your experience with one or two peers from class. How did your experiences compare?

10. Share how what you have witnessed illustrates lessons you have learned about how the legal system operates. Develop your response to this question in some depth.

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