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On November 6, 2019, I had the opportunity to go to court and observe an interesting Preliminary Hearing case. The case that I sat through was a rape case about how a twelve years old girl said that her fifty year old uncle would sexually touch her and do certain things to her every time she would go over to his house. The prosecutor asked the young girl a series of inquiries such as “whenever you were going over to your uncle’s house did you feel terrified of what he might do to you without anyone else around.” I was speechless when she answered “I was afraid, and I would get angry at my mom when I asked her if I can go over to my grandparent’s house instead and she would always say no.”
As the trial went on the questions the prosecutor was asking by the minute were getting deeper every second and the answers were very detailed. Some of the inquiries that were asked were as following: “was it only when you went to your uncle’s house, when would your uncle sexually touch you, when your uncle was sexually touch you were you standing up or laying down, did anybody ever walk in while he was doing things to you, did you ever think your uncle was worried about getting caught by someone.” The very first thing I noticed when I walked in and took my seat, was to the left of the holding stalls was a sign saying if anybody talked to any of the defendants, it was considered a misdemeanor.
I never thought that would have to be put up in a courtroom. I had been in a courtroom before but it was for juveniles and their families to observe only. Being in a courtroom filled with strangers all watching this case going on was a bit overwhelming at first. Across from the Judge, there was a table for the prosecutors, at this case trial there was a total of three prosecutors. At a separate table sat the defendant and his defendant. Next to the defendant sat the bailiff. The bailiff was the one who would bring in and out each of the defendants folders that held each of their respective case information, when it was time for the judge to hear their case. The Clerk of Court who sat to the right of the judge, would give the judge a folder containing all the information about the case. On the left side of the judge, was the witness stand, where they young girl told her story as to what her uncle would do to her.
Across the witness stand sat the Court Reporter, whenever the witness, judge, or attorney would speak, the Court Reporter would quickly collect and record every word that came out of each of their mouths. Once the trial started, everyone in the courtroom gave their full attention and respect from the point when the judge walked in until the very end of the trial. The courtroom would stay completely silent as the trail went on. The bailiff went into the holding stalls and brought out the defendant. The defendant was very serious, and he had a nervous look on his face and it looked almost as if he wanted to cry because he was as ashamed as to what he had done. When the victim took the witness stand, she was very anxious, because she could not sit still. You were able to tell she was very scared because as she spoke her voice was coming in and out as if she wouldn’t be able to talk at certain point throughout her story of the events that transpired. As the prosecutor asked the victim multiple inquiries, the judge was well aware of the types of questions that were being asked of her.
The Judge made sure that she understood the question that was being asked to her. If she did not understand the question, she would not have to answer unless the prosecutor made it clearer and if not the judge would overrule it. In my opinion, I do believe the accused was treated innocent until proven guilty. He had his public defendant sitting to the left of him throughout the entire trial. I always thought that defendants were able to take the witness stand to say their side of the story, the defendant was quiet during the whole trial, and he never said one word. When the trial was coming to an end and the prosecutors were through asking questions, the Judge asked prosecutors if the witness was able to be dismissed. There was a lady who was standing next to her during the entire trial, my guess is that she was one of the little girl’s mother or guardian. As she got up she went over to the lady hugged her and they proceeded to exit the courtroom. Then it was time for the judge to give the verdict of the trial. He read the penial codes, the defendant was found guilty on. Once that was done, the judge read that the defendant was given a bail of two hundred million, three hundred thousand dollars. Although it was a large amount of money, I personally think that the defendant should not have been given the slightest chance of bail.
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