Summary of Courtroom Observations

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October 28, 2009

Courtroom Observations
On October 8, 2009 I attended a general sessions court at the Lexington County Courthouse. At this time the Judge was hearing guilty pleas. There were many people in the rather large courtroom that day. The courtroom was much larger than the one I had visited during drug court here in Spartanburg. Before the day’s session began I could see many defense attorneys going over their cases with their clients, some of whom were wearing bright orange jumpsuits that told me they were held in jail prior to their court hearing. Some of the defense lawyers appeared to have more than one client. I noticed that there were two gentlemen seated at the state solicitor’s table and another, younger, gentleman would periodically walk up to them and hand them some documents. The two state solicitors already had a large stack of papers next to them. Seated down and to the left of where the judge would sit, once he arrived, was a woman at a computer, the court reporter and a little further to the left of her was the clerk of court. Stationed at a door to the left and behind the large raised desk that was the judge’s desk was a bailiff. There was another bailiff stationed at the rear door of the courthouse where I walked in through while entering.

The judge walked in and before he did so we were told of his approaching and were asked to raise. The judge was a tall older man with gray hair. He looked very bored with what was about to fill up his day; ready to get it over with. Before he gave his instructions to the prosecution to begin with their first plea bargain, he took his time going over some of the paperwork placed on his desk by the clerk of court. Then finally he was ready to begin the day’s court session.

When given the nod of approval, the prosecution stood up and called out their first case. The first defendant that was called forth was a young woman who had pled guilty to check fraud. I do not remember...
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