Thursday, January 27

Expert Witness ?


Well, I’m not really an expert, but after testifying twice in court I feel like one. I went to court today because of the wreck that we were subjected to last January. You may remember reading about how the guy plowed into us while we were stopped at a red light.

His first court date got continued, and I was afraid this one would as well – but since the guy was escorted into the courtroom in an orange-striped jumpsuit, flip flops and handcuffs, I guess he didn’t have that option. He has been serving a jail sentence for spousal abuse (300 days.)

The Assistant District Attorney called me to the front of the courtroom before the judge arrived, and placed me in the witness section – which would have been the jury panel, had there been a jury. I sat among several Raleigh City Police and NC State Troopers, as well as a few Probation Officers. There is nothing like that crowd to make you feel safe.

The ADA asked me a few questions to confirm what I had told her on the phone several months ago. When the inmate’s attorney arrived, they called the case. The ADA presented her information (which the judge was already privy to, of course.) I had told her that since I have a cold, I wasn’t hearing well, so she raised her voice so I had no trouble understanding. She said that the defendant had lost his license permanently at the age of 18 for DUI’s. He is now about 36 and in the time since he lost his license, he has had 3 DUI’s and 4 instances of driving without a license. He also has several charges of spousal abuse, and another one coming up in February, plus another case of DUI in a neighboring county. This ADA really knew her stuff and she pled the case well, asking for more than the minimum sentence (60 days) to teach this guy a lesson.

She mentioned me to the judge and told him that I had reported that the defendant had asked us to lie about who was driving the car, if by some miracle, as he stated, his wife and mother got to the scene of the accident before the NC State Trooper arrived. I didn’t have to go to the witness stand, but the judge asked me a few questions and accepted my answers.

The defendant’s attorney then pleaded for his client. He had rose-colored glasses on when he mentioned the facts of the case. I understand that an attorney is supposed to get his client off, but in this case, he really went past the mark. He didn’t lie outright, but he surely did shade the truth.

The judge wasn’t having any of it. He sentenced the guy to another 120 days, to be served after the current 300 days sentence. Bear in mind that this guy has two more court dates yet to come (not involving me, thank God!)

After the proceedings, the ADA thanked me (as did the Probation Officer) and said I was free to go and unless the defendant appeals the sentence, I will not have to return. I told her I would come back if I was needed. They seemed to think that my presence helped to persuade the judge to give this guy a longer sentence than he got the last time he drove with a license. I was happy to help.

I think in my next life, I’m going to be a DA. The whole process was very interesting!

20 comments:

Pat said...

Well done Judy - I'm proud of you:)
I've only once given evidence in court and I was a gibbering wreck.

Nell Jean said...

You done good. Proud of you.

Your last sentence reminded me of the young woman who told me she had ambitions to be a judge. Didn't want to start out as an attorney as she didn't like lawyers. I tried not to smile knowing her checkered past.

Star said...

Good for you Judy. How many chances does one guy get, anyway? I had the best time on jury duty last year. It was really an interesting experience.

robin andrea said...

Well done! I'm glad that it worked out as well as it did.

David said...

my brother is a prosecutor, its no fun, but we need good ones badly.

this weekend is the memorial for my mom.

srp said...

Yes, well done! I know you are glad it is over.

Gilly said...

Well done! It was so interesting reading it, as things seem to be very differently processed in the UK. Your experience sounded much more informal.

Travelin'Oma said...

Congratulations on a job well done. I'll be watching for you to be staring in Law and Order reruns to add a spark of reality. Sounds interesting!

kenju said...

Gilly, there is some order, but yes, it is informal. There are attorneys, bailiffs and police moving about the room freely and talking in low tones. The background noise in the room made it hard for me to hear the judge, but sitting as close as I did to him, it wasn't too bad.

Arkansas Patti said...

You did good Judy and it really must have been interesting. I have only been a jurer once and thought the proceedings interesting.
How could that guy have been on the road at all? What a terrible loser. Some people you can't redeem.
At least his wife will have time to heal up and move on. Hope the other charges pending will add even more to his sentence.

Olga said...

Sounds like this guy is beyond learning a lesson.

Granny Annie said...

Good for you Judy for doing your civic duty. Does this make you a "snitch"? Could there be a hit out on you? Do you think I watch too much TV? LOL

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Good for you! This guy needs to learn his lesson before he kills someone...

SY said...

This guy sounds like he needs more than 60 days.. not exactly a model citizen

- Sy

Joy Des Jardins said...

Bravo to you Judy...I know you're glad that's out of the way now. Even being there as a helpful witness, these court appearances are always stressful to some degree. I'm so proud of you for a job well done. It's apparent that guy has a troubled background and has many issues.

Looking to the Stars said...

Good job. It sounds like this guy refuses to learn. It made me sad that he is a spouse abuser.

I always wanted to be a lawyer till I found out what my uncle had to endure while he was one.

How are you feeling? Hope you are kicking that bug in the you know what :)

Tracy said...

I was actually on jury duty in Ohio on the case of spousal abuse and it is so very interesting, which I have to say, my favorite TV shows involve crime and detective work...perhaps I'll be an investigator as well.
Regarding the scum bag...in hearing his background, it's a wonder you weren't killed by his antics. It's so scary to think how many times that people with no license do drive.
I'm glad you are safe!
Happy Day!

Darlene said...

This loser will never learn his lesson no matter how many days they keep him in jail. If he hasn't learned it now, he never will. I hope you never have to meet him on the road again.

Grannymar said...

I am pleased you have had closure in this case. Sounds like the guy has plenty to learn.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

It is really interesting to see the process up close. Although I hope I don't have to see it anytime soon.