Court Observation Paper

Good Essays
On Friday, April, 4, 2014, I observed the Vanderburgh County Superior Court to observe different family law cases. The cases I heard involved contempt of court for failing to pay child support, failure to appear for a court appointed drug test, birth certificate affidavit, request for contest hearing time, and an issue of paternity case. Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Corcoran was presiding over the family court hearings. When entering the courthouse, I was greeted by security and advised to remove any cell phones, and/or, any other items that would trigger a metal detector. After this, I proceeded straight to look for the family courtroom. After roaming around mindlessly for a couple minutes, I decided to ask the courthouse officer monitoring…show more content…
I was still filled with anticipation and was quite surprised at the differences between my first and second experience. I was formally dressed and did not really blend in with anyone else sitting in the courtroom. The attorneys seemed to come and go as they pleased, with no deference or respect for the proceedings in session.
The first case that was presented involved a man that was currently incarcerated in the Vanderburgh County jail. The inmate was able to plead his case, telling the judge that he was not able to work because he was injured, and therefore had no income to pay for child support. After looking at the past payments the inmate made through the court, it revealed that before he was incarcerated he had made one payment to the child’s mother. He claimed that he was out of work because he had broken his leg, but failed to provide an statements from his employer stating he was either let go or not able to work because of an injury. All payments had stopped for whatever reason. The judge found the inmate in contempt of court for failure to obey a court order. He could not prove to the judge that he deliberately disobey the court’s order to pay child support. In the end, the judge found him irresponsible and sentenced him to 90 days in jail along with a $1000 fine. After he was sentenced, he was escorted out of the front of the courtroom by the bailiff.
The next case involved a mother who had failed to show up for a drug test. She was
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