There were twenty or more pre-trials or trials that day. The speed in which they were handled was surprisingly
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On Thursday November 17th, 2005 we attempted to go and see a trial at the Oakland County Circuit Court. An attorney friend advised us to go to the Macomb Circuit Court that Thursday, but due to a scheduling conflict we chose to go the Oakland County Court. We were also advised to go around 1:00 p.m. because the court would commence again after lunch. We arrived to the court at 12:45 and after passing through security we quickly went to the fifth floor courtrooms to find a trial. Upon reaching the fifth floor we found that on that particular Thursday there were several pre-trials being held instead of a single trial. These are the observations that we made in Courtroom 2B on that day. The courtroom was very busy that day as we entered. Many well-dressed attorneys were scrambling about the courtroom talking to their own clients and other attorneys. We sat in the back of the courtroom in order to take everything in. Just before 1:00 p.m. the Court Clerk, Lindsey Hills, asked everyone to rise because Judge Michael Warren was entering the courtroom.
Violation of probation was a result of a few defendants committing these other crimes. The attorney's main focus seemed not to prove their clients innocence but to lessen the penalties through plea-bargaining. In many instances the attorney's achieved their goal. In some due to the defendant's prior record a lessened penalty was just not an option. There were only a few cases that were resolved and sentenced that day. Most of the cases were adjourned until other dates, December 8th being the most popular. The latest a case was scheduled to return was January 15th of 2006. There were many trials to watch that day but one of them stuck out most clearly in our minds. The case was People vs. Randall McQuaid. In this a 29-year-old African -American man, Randall McQuaid, had attempted an armed robbery then was pulled over by the police. In an attempt to get away he ran from police on foot, and was apprehended. Randall was not one of the men in shackles but by the end of the trial he joined the others in the jury's box and in shackles.
Judge Warren asked questions and stated official courtroom lines with such speed and accuracy that amazed us and made it hard for us to follow every word. Clearly the Judge need not read these lines any longer. They were stated aloud through memory and repetition. Even though it seemed like the same old script for each case he judged each individually and fairly. At times he used humor to lighten the busy atmosphere. In one instance he said he agreed to lessen a sentence of a man accused of assault with a knife because he was wearing a Michigan football jersey and he even cheered "Go Blue." Judge Warren was fair and honest, and handled the courtroom like an experienced veteran. The courtroom observation experience was fascinating. At times throughout the course of our education we had both attended other court trials. We had never been to a court where so much was going on in a single day. The speed and efficiency of the court was a bit overwhelming at times. At the end of the day we agreed that the courtroom was an interesting experience and that we never wanted to be on the other side of the courtroom.
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