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Hearing Trial And Criminal Justice

Decent Essays
In Philadelphia, just blocks from where, both, the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and ratified, sits the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice (hereinafter C.J.C.). Unfortunately, somehow in those few blocks, or many years, our sense of justice and fairness were lost.

On Friday, March 23, 2017, I observed activities at the C.J.C. from 8:05 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. I had opportunities to view Magistrate Rice preside over bail hearings, Judge Thomas Gerhet preside over a trial and conduct ‘Drug Court’ progress hearings, and Judge Frank Palumbo conduct probation hearings. Although, I witnessed over 26 different hearings, due to assignment constraints this paper will focus largely on one case and
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I apologized and informed her I was a student from Kline.

Subsequently, the public defender returned her attention to the current case before the court, where a defendant, Ms. Alias, was accused of aggravated assault, simple assault, and conspiracy. Alias lives with her ex-girlfriend, the complainant. The magistrate talked with Alias and then said “$5000 S.O.B.” and ordered her to stay away from the complainant and the house they share. Immediately, Alias complained, but not about the money or that she did not understand “S.O.B.”. Sadly, Alias exclaimed, “my children live there”! After talking with Alias, the magistrate told the prosecutor, “I am going to do this my way,” noting that the three young children need their mother and to be in their home. The prosecutor immediately picked up the phone, to which the judge responded, “I don’t care if you are going to appeal.” The prosecutor then told the officers to “hold the defendant pending appeal by the district attorney’s office.” The magistrate called the next case. A few minutes later, the prosecutor interrupted the magistrate to say, “no appeal will be file.” Alias was then brought back on the C.C.T.V. and informed that she could return to her home, but was not to talk or have physical contact with the complainant.

I appreciated the magistrate’s concern for the defendant’s children, but was
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