Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another view of the MA court system

This morning I had to help a client whose kid got into a bit of a mess legally. Nothing too horrible, but enough to have to appear in front of a judge to be arraigned. The mom was frantic and really needed someone to hold her hand. I didn't really need to be there, but she couldn't have done it by herself without breaking down.

I got to the courthouse promptly at 8:30, which is when we were told to appear. I saw my client and her kid, plus the other kids involved (4 of them). We were told to go down to the probation department and sign in. Down we went, and each kid had to be spoken to separately. We had to wait a good half hour for our turn and then were ushered into a conference room where volumes of paperwork was filled in. We found that a court-appointed attorney costs $150, which surprised me. I didn't know you had to pay for them. But you do.

We were sent up to the second floor where a bevy of cops were hanging around chit chatting with the court staff. The courtroom was massively hot and there seemed to be no real action going on. We waited for another half hour, and then the probation officer came up and told us we were in the wrong courtroom.

Downstairs we found the correct courtroom and laughed at the fact that we had all three floors covered now. We waited and waited. There are court appointed attorneys talking to each other, and a few people waiting for things like restraining orders and arraignments. The kids all sat in one row, and we were directly behind them. They were subdued and scared. Forty-five minutes crawled by and finally the judge appeared. She sat down and was no nonsense. She started up as soon as her butt hit the chair.

We were the second case called. The kids were all released on their own recognizance and they seemed to understand that they couldn't get in any more trouble. The judge appointed our kid an attorney and then we had to wait for him to talk to us.

He took us into a conference room and spoke to us for a while, explaining that since there was no witness that our kid did anything wrong, he thought the case would be dismissed. But that at the upcoming hearing he would ask for a stay because he wanted to hire someone to contact the aggreived party and see if they would drop the charges against my client's kid.

We were in front of the judge for all of 2 minutes. We talked to the attorney for about 10 minutes. We waited for at least 2.5 hours.

It's not at all like it is on TV.

The attorney warned us that this could go on for months and months.

All I have to say is, "What a waste of the taxpayer's money."

But I have to admit it was interesting.

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Blogger Daisy said...

Subdued and scared - I hope that means they'll think twice before getting in any other trouble.

14/8/08 1:05 PM  

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