Hall Of Justice Observation Assignment

Hall Of Justice Observation Assignment Words: 2006

The Hall of Justice currently serves as the San Francisco police Department operational headquarters. The complex serves as the main San Francisco County Jail and is the base of operations for the San Francisco Sheriffs Department. In addition it is also the criminal justice center for the San Francisco County

Superior Court, Office of the San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner and city morgue. (Justice, 2014) As a first timer at the Hall of Justice Court House my expectations were to be something like on television or movies but instead it was more of a chaotic environment. The media seems to portray an organized and smooth environment when it fact I saw the total opposite. The courts have the function of giving the public an opportunity to present themselves to either bring action against them or stand up themselves if any controversy against them rises.

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It is known to everyone that a court is a place here arguments can be settled with proper and professional procedures. Being here opened me to have a different view of what really goes on in the court rooms. This experience enriched my knowledge of the criminal court system and how each case is handled by exposing me to scenarios of how both parties argue and bring up concerns, defending their case, as well as the expedited time the judge has to make a ruling, and finally exposing the flaws within the Criminal Justice system. Barraging 2!

Part of entering the Hall of Justice building is going through security. The security within the building was for me very much similar to the one in the airports, bags in bin, no metals on you, electronics, belts, and any jacket off. As you cross over you notice right away who works there and who does not. You can see the lost faces of people unfamiliar with the building and the faces of those who go in knowing exactly what to do and what has to be done. You get a sense of two worlds in one; the professional world and the criminal world. Two very different but yet very related.

Our first destination was Room 17, the “Trial Assignment” Room. The trial assignment is a court proceeding which starts every day at 9:00 am. The Judge decides which law case IS scheduled for the hearing the next court day, how much time is needed for each of the hearing and which Judges have time available to hear those cases. But how does it work? All the attorneys and other represented parties take a seat in the courtroom and wait until Judge announces each case, once your case is called you stand up and tell the Judge you are present, your name, and whether you are ready to have your hearing.

If you are not ready then give a reason why and when you will be ready. Now you have the District Attorneys n the other side that might disagree it any requesters ask for. If this is the case the Judge will then see what to do from there. If you are ready the Judge will tell you how much time you need depending on whether you have witnesses coming to court or any other information that needs to be in the courtroom by the hearing date. Our next stop was the Criminal Division Floor, Room 24 In this floor everything seemed to be much quieter, less people, and more private.

While waiting in the court room for the preliminary hearing to start we got to speak to a few professionals including, Public Defender, Felony Attorney, District Attorney, Bailiffs and Police Officer. Barraging 3! Talking to the Public Defender gave me an understanding of the upcoming case, as well as what she does in her profession. A class member asked, “What is the worse thing about being a Public Defender,” she replied јrose case is to defend is when you believe someone is really innocent, it keeps you night and day. Now, had never thought of it in that way, compare it with a math problem you will not stop trying until you get the right answer. In a criminal case, as a Public Defender they will not stop trying until they can get what they believe is fair. Also as a Public Defender you only get to defend one person at a time due to avoid any conflicts between the defendants. Next, we got to talk to the Felony Attorney, he was a defender for another defendant in the case, he described his job to us and explained the challenges he faces as an attorney. He mentioned to us that he does not choose the case he is assigned to them.

On average he is working on 50-60 case at a time, which in my opinion is a major flaw of the Criminal Justice system. So how does an attorney handle this? You have to call victims early, call witnesses, but most importantly go to the place where the case happened. He stated to us that going to the scene site will create a better idea of where everything happen, you will be able to get the sense, and the environment of the crime. The District Attorney was the next individual we got to speak to. She has been three years in practice and talked to us on why she wanted to be a District Attorney.

Why be the person that brings the charges against a suspect in court? She said she likes being in control, presses charges, but most importantly having stronger opponents. And she does not feel bad on reuses any of these charges because a District Attorney only prosecutes guilty people. But what happens if a District Attorney cannot prove the case? If a District Attorney cannot prove the case they go to the supervisor can be dismissed. If it is a felony then they can be reopened but only if it has not gone to jury trial. In comparison to a misdemeanors Barraging 4! Oh only get one shot. After having the opportunity of hearing what their different professions and roles were noticed how close related they were and the type of relationship they had with each other. At first they all seemed o be one the same team and they greeted each other and spoke to each other like they were friends. I got to the conclusion that they keep professionalism between them and although they may be on opposite sides does not mean that they cannot get along. The conversations between them and us stopped when the case was about to start.

During the criminal case there are several different people present in the court room. The main roles present were the judge, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the defendants, the bailiff, the police officer and the court reporter. Each one of these people re important to the court room since without them the court system would not be able to run smoothly and criminals would not be brought to justice. On Tuesday morning of March 3, 2014, a preliminary hearing was held. The case consisted of 3 people, 2 African American men and 1 African American woman.

They were arrested on a Sunday morning, June 23, 2013, at 1515 Underworld Avenue for armed robbery and kidnapping employee of a Bay View district recycling plant. According to the Officer Julian Eng in the preliminary hearing the robbery occurred in 1 95 Basher around 7:40 am hen the two men walked into the center and demanded cash from the register and safe. One suspect was armed. They both fled with cash. Officer then was given descriptions of the car they fled in and traced it back to a house with was the location of arrest.

Officer Eng was the first to arrive at the residence location on Underworld Avenue where he saw car described and also another car parked in the driveway, where the suspects were along with a small dog. The car parked on the driveway was all tinted except for the front windows which caused the officer to only see the Barraging 5! People in the driver (Mr.. Moore) and passenger (Ms. Taylor) next to him. As the other officers arrived and ask the driver to step out of the car they noticed money hanging out of his pants. At this point a person from the back flees out but does not get too far when an officer knocks him down.

As the preliminary hearing was in session the Judge kept verifying the seating arrangement, license plates of cars, descriptions of the residence location and making sure that what Officer Eng was saying matched with the original report. The District Attorney interrogated Officer, while Public Defenders would also object on any hear say. Right in front of the Judge were the court reporters that collected any extra paper work and took notes all the testimonies given. We got to see the defendants with orange jumpsuits which made the whole scene more intense.

The preliminary hearing can be a difficult part of the criminal process for a victim because the defense attorneys can use the hearing as a way of developing inconsistent statements. As walked out of the court room, it lead me to a question that was how long does this process take? It is barely their preliminary hearing and the crime was committed almost 8 months ago. Our final stop was the Probation Department building located just a few block from the Hall of Justice. We go to talk to Probation Officer, Random Martinez and got a tour around the new building.

Officer Martinez gave us a quick description of the programs they do to help felon and how to stay on the right path. Being in prison for any amount of time is difficult and having to start your life again after is even tougher. At this location they help felons find a job, finish school, receive food, and other types of help. Barraging 6! Many people believe that by putting people in prisons, completing their entente, they are able to be in the real world perfectly fine, but fact of the matter is, it is not that easy, which leads me to the flaws in the Criminal Justice system that I noticed after visiting the court house.

Throughout my visitation and after hearing guest speakers, Yale (Public Defender) and Random Martinez (Probation Officer) there was several flaws I noticed such as: How can a defense attorney actually take their time to handle correctly 50-60 cases a day? How can a single Judge move 100-150 cases a day? For example, in Oakland there is so many people they handle them in groups. Is this correct? Is it unfair for non-native speakers to have to wait longer for their trial because they cannot speak the language? How can race and language affect your trial?

Is it systematically fair? Why was there 3 Public Defenders in the case but only 1 District Attorney? Why not 3 as well? Why doesn’t every felon get a probation program that will help them in remaking their lives? There is many flaws that I believe the Criminal Justice system needs to fix in order to make it work properly. People are also not fully aware on how the system works or cases are managed. Unawareness leads to confusion which can may hinge can affect individuals in trials. Reformation of the Criminal Justice system needs to happen.

As a whole we need to start focusing more on where the problem is being created. Although San Francisco has stepped up and started creating programs such as Community Court, there is yet many places that are not doing anything to fix the system but instead just making the problem escalate. It is how one judge once said, “Fairness has departed from the system.

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