Sample Court Visitation submitted by a previous student
I.Lucas County Courthouse (Courtroom 6-fourth floor)
II.April 16, 2007
III.Judge Denise Ann Dartt
IV. Different arraignments observed
• The first case I saw involved a man who worked in with the CTF and they wanted him terminated. There was a supervisor from the CTF present and came forward with an issue that involved the defendant that morning. She said that he had started another inappropriate argument with another person right before they came to court.
He had also violated his community control. He was placed on community control for possession of crack cocaine. He had allegedly not complied with the correction treatment program due to behavior problems. The judge ordered that he must comply with his supervisor.
• The next case that was brought up was where the defendant requested that his record be expunged. The defendant had not yet provided restitution. The motion to expunge was granted. The motion to expunge was not based on the unknown restitution.
• There were several cases brought up where they just set the date for the pre-trial.
• The next defendant that was brought up had been convicted of a 4th degree felony from carrying a weapon. He was not accompanied by an attorney. The judge said that he needs to get an attorney before his trial. He was let go because he had posted bond earlier.
• The next case was a man whose case was from 1994. He did not have a lawyer and asked the court to appoint one for him. Judge Dartt asked questions to him to find out if he really could not provide for a lawyer. He said that he has a job where he makes $250 a week and has to provide child support of $62.50 a week also. He was then appointed a lawyer by the court.
• The next case that was brought up was a guy who had been arrested on charges that happened a long time before. The judge said he was a fugitive and he said that he had already served his time. He said that he was in New Jersey and committed a crime there and served time there for that crime and for crime in Toledo. The judge said that she can not prove it so he will need to appoint a lawyer. The judge said the court would provide one if he couldn't and he turned it down and said he doesn't need one. The judge repeatedly said he has to have a lawyer to prove that he has already served his time and
he refuses. The judge then proceeds to yell at the defendant telling him he must have a lawyer then he accepts and goes on.
• Another defendant had originally convicted of a felony of 3rd degree
(burglary), and had prior violations of his probation. He was recently caught riding his sister's bike in south Toledo after visiting his friend. At his friends house he began an argument with a neighbor and yelled at them, they then called the police and that was how he was caught violating community control by not completing his correction treatment which was an order by the court. He admitted to violating community control and said he has medical problems. The defendant then asked for a second chance and said that he would go along with any probation the court gave him. He was denied and the court ordered the original sentence of 3 years and he would get credit for any days already served.
• The next defendant was brought in on charges of theft and making false alarms which was said to be a 5th degree felony. She was given one week to meet with a lawyer. She was then booked, finger printed and bond was posted. I later saw this same lady walking on the street when I left the courthouse.
• The next defendant was a 21 year old man who was brought in on alleged violation of community control. He was told he had a right to a hearing but he denied it and admitted. His lawyer spoke for him saying; he knows he is getting a sentence but would like a sentence that he can get an education and help with his drug problems. From the first day of his original arraignment he had an electronic monitoring device placed around his ankle, but he cut it off. The crime he committed to put him on community control with a monitoring device was possession of crack cocaine. He was convicted of robbery; he had robbed three different places by using a gun to force people to follow his instructions. The judge sentenced him to three years for each count of robbery and one year for violating his community control. The first two counts of robbery and the one year for community control will be served consecutively for a total of seven consecutive years in prison.
• The last defendant I saw was about the partner in crime of the previous guy. He had the same charges also; armed robbery. His lawyer also spoke for him and said; he knows he will receive a sentence and would like if he could also help support his wife and kids while serving time. The lawyer also brought up that the defendant only had one prior felony (aggravated trespassing). The judge then asked the defendant if he had anything to say and he apologized to the court and his family, then Judge Dartt said what about the people you pointed a gun at, the people life you held in their had because you had a gun pointed at them, what about the people that were working, trying to make a little money and you were there to rob them. He then apologized to everyone
else. He also received the sentence with three years per count of robbery with the first two counts being served consecutively.
V. Student outlook on court visit
I found this experience to be very educational. I had never even been to a courthouse before, especially to see actual criminals being convicted of crimes. The people who were working at the courthouse were very nice. When I walked in, after I went through the metal detector they asked me if I needed help finding anything and I told them what I was there for and they told me that about the only thing going on was on the fourth floor and it had just gotten started. I thought this was very helpful since there were many floors of courtrooms and I had no idea what I was doing or looking for when I went in. Then there was a lady standing outside the door of the courtroom only allowing a certain number of people in and I talked to her and she made sure that I got my chance to go in and watch.
I found it interesting that some of the defendants were brought in, in custody and some came in on their own and would meet their lawyer or be appointed one in the courtroom. It was also interesting that they would only allow very little number of people other than the people in custody inside the courtroom. There were only two rows of seats for people to observe the courtroom. I had to wait outside the courtroom for a while before a seat opened up and I was allowed in. The hearings with the last two men were the most interesting and were also very disturbing. It was awkward knowing that those two men had gone into a restaurant and pointed a gun at the employees and customers ordering them to get on the ground and then robbed them. It was also uncomfortable in the courtroom because everyone other than me was a family member or close friend of the two defendants and they were somewhat emotional when the judge ordered them to be