I entered the courtroom and took a seat in the right rear corner. The court was empty except for the D.A, the clerk, the recorder and a deputy. I had passed the jurors on my way in, the looks of relief were evident on there faces, their stint of slavery almost done.
The courtroom was old school, dark wood paneling, an elaborate relief type ceiling and quotes about justice from the founding fathers embossed into the upper walls rounded out the decor. Some of the founding father's statements mentioned God, indicating this courtroom was built in a far different era than the one we live in today.
After a short while, the defense attorney entered, a tall black man dressed in a tailored tan suit. He arrived alone, and made small talk with the DA, a slender white woman in her early thirties. They chatted about the trial as they waited for the defendant to show up.
The defendant arrived a short time later, along with his mother and a woman I assumed to be his girlfriend. The girlfriend was pretty, though the many gang-style tats were a blight on her dark brown skin. The defendant walked to the defense table and took a seat, glancing nervously over his shoulder at his mother in the spectator's gallery.
The judge entered shortly afterward and the clerk called the court to order. Some items from the previous proceedings were addressed by the judge, he then motioned to the deputy and the jury was brought in. None of the jurors appeared to look toward the defendant, most eyes were cast down or looked straight ahead. After some fumbling around, the jury was seated and the judge began.
"Members of the Jury, have you reached verdicts on all counts and allegations that the defendant was charged with?"
"We have your Honor"
"Please hand the jury packet to the deputy"
The jury foreman stood up and handed a 9"x 12" manila envelope to the deputy, who in turn, carried it to to the judge. The judge opened the envelope and sorted through the pages, making sure everything was in order. He then handed the papers ti the clerk.
"The clerk will now read the verdicts" the judge said.
The clerk rose and began to read. "In the matter of the people of the State of California versus I.M. Dirtbag find the following verdicts in the following counts:
"Count one: We the jury in the afore mentioned case find the defendant guilty of section 211(a) of the California Penal Code - armed robbery"
"Count two: We the jury in the afore mentioned case find the defendant guilty of section 459 of the California Penal Code - burglary of a vehicle"
"Count three: We the jury in the afore mentioned case find the defendant guilty of section 459 of the California Penal Code - burglary of a trailer"
Several more verdicts were read, all were guilty, all felonies. In addition, several findings were made, including the use of a firearm and discharge of a firearm in the commission of a robbery.
The defendant initially begged his attorney to explain how he could have possibly found guilty. Then he looked down before quietly crying into his hands. He is looking at a 30 year sentence and will be required to serve at least 80 per cent of it.
As the verdicts were read, the defendant's girlfriend began sobbing in the rear of the courtroom, his mother comforted her while she herself wept. A deputy brought them a box of tissues while the clerk read on. Finally, the deputy had to ask the defendant's girlfriend to step outside the courtroom as her sobbing was becoming disruptive. Rather than leave, the girlfriend instead quieted down, her sobs muffled in her hands.
After the verdicts were read, the judge and the attorneys discussed sentencing dates and the subject.of bail. The sentencing date was fairly easy, after some discussion a date was set. The subject of bail was even easier. The state said that the violent nature of the crimes warranted revocation of bail, the defense wanted the existing bail to be in effect until sentencing.
The judge said that state law required immediate remanding of the defendant into custody unless the defense could provide an extenuating circumstance why that should not occur. He then said that the defense had failed to do so and ordered the defendant into custody. The defendant stood up, placed his hands behind his back and was quickly placed in handcuffs. He then sat back down.
The sobbing from the rear of the courtroom began anew, the volume of which was loud enough for all to hear. The defendants mother asked the deputy if she could hug her son one more time, the deputy responded that she should wait outside the courtroom after the proceedings were over and they would discuss it.
I felt some compassion for the defendant's mother, there was a strong possibility that she would never see her son a free man again.
After the defendant sat back down, the judge profoundly thanked the jury, then dismissed them. They filed out of the courtroom, avoiding eye contact with the defendant and his family as they walked out.
The judged left the bench and the court was closed. The defendant's mother left the courtroom, followed by the DA a few minutes later. The mother began making comments to the DA as she walked past, not threatening or insulting, but accusatory and rude. Any compassion that I had for the mother's plight was quickly erased. Her comments were more than from anger over her sons conviction, but a statement of philosophy, one of victimization and entitlement.
I for one am glad her thug son is off of the street, he is one less dirt bag that I have to worry about sticking a gun into my face and taking my property.
Off topic I know. There is no way I can portray the drama that occurred in that courtroom today. I do not have the skill to do it. Lives ruined by bad choices, others ruined by the fear and harm that the defendant caused.
Thanks to the law enforcement officers and to the DA's office for doing their jobs and keeping them away from us.
Thanks to you for reading.
1 hour ago