Monday, November 05, 2007

Witness the Justice

Today was I was a witness in court for the District Attorney on that accident I saw in late February. It finally came to court after being set over once by the DA and 3 times by the defendant.

So I'm in the DA's office by 8:15am and Mike (the "victim") walks in, and the Assistant DA takes us into a small room and starts asking us questions like she will in court. It's all pretty straightforward.

We wait for a while outside the courtroom, and up walks Thad, a climber I know from the PRG who's also from the Midwest, climbed at Jackson Falls.

"What are you doing here?" - Thad
"I got in trouble. Actually I'm here to testify." - me
"You're a witness? Wait, for the Carlson-Ham case?" - Thad
He immediately turns around and walks away. I start laughing...

A bit of time passes as I wait to be called in. I see the cops being buddy-buddy with the DAs and the public defenders. Not so unlike what I've seen on TV.

I'm called in, sworn in (didn't have to say "so help me God" which might have been an issue) and the ADA starts her questions. About 1/2 way through her line of questions the judge notices the defendant's waiver of a trial bu jury had not been signed by the judge, presiding over what is now a bench trial. So they put the questions on hold for a minute to sort that out, and then the ADA continues.

When Thad started his cross:
"Mr. Cooke, is it true that you know me." - Thad
"Yes" - me
"This won't affect your testimony in any way, will it?" - Thad
"No, not at all" - me
"Wait wait, how do you two know each other Mr. Cooke?" - Judge You
"From the rock climbing gym." - me

And that was that. He only asked a few questions then I was excused and allowed to leave. I had a nice bike ride to work, getting there just after 11, so I had a long day ahead of me.

The experience was quite fun actually. I'd like to go sit in on some trials and see first-hand how the system works (or doesn't)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so i was called for jury duty a while back, i got through all the steps, and was called into the box, but then they asked me if i had any conflicts and i did, so i left, kind of a bummer cause the case sounded cool (wal-mart was involved). anyways, i too thought it was cool to see how the justice system moves along, i think some day when i've got some time, i'm going to go check out a trial, could be cool.
what up jesse.