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On Friday, July, 6, 2018 at 10:45 am I observed different law cases at The Greene County Courthouse in Springfield, Missouri. I was the only formally dressed person sitting in the back of the courtroom. Judge Margaret Holding Palmietto, Division 22 in room 25 was presiding over the court hearings. The hearings were brief and the courtroom didn’t have any police present or a defendant box. The cases I heard involved contempt of court for failure to appear for a court appointed date.
The first case I observed the defendant was a white 45 year old male. He was pulled over on June 4, 2018 and arrested and charged with two counts. Count one was driving while revoked he could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum penalty may involve a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Count two was failure to display plates he can be given was given a fine. The man made bond but failed to appear in court on July 2, 2018 so a warrant was issued for his arrest. He told the judge he did not receive the papers in the mail with the court date on it and he lost his tickets showing the date. The judge was advised the papers were sent back undeliverable so she recalled the warrant. The judge asked him if he was legal now he said he was in the process of getting things lined out. The judge said she would give him more time and set for reappearance August 21, 2018 at 8:30am.
The second case involved a 39 year old white male and he was charged with failure to appear in court on May 15, 2018 a warrant was issued. The judge saw that his mail was returned undeliverable so she recalled the warrant. He was pulled over prior to May 15, 2018 and it resulted in two counts. Count one was driving while revoked, he could be facing serious charges because he is a second time offender. According to Section 302.321 of Missouri Revised Statutes, those with a second or third similar violation can expect a possible year in jail as well as a fine of up to $1,000. Count two was failure to drive on right half of roadway where roadway was of sufficient width as stated in Missouri Statute 304.01. The man brought in proper work and the judge ordered a compliance letter be issued so he could work on getting his license the subject case was set for a reappearance on August 1, 2018.
The third case an 18 year old black male was in court to appear in front of judge requesting a bond reduction for two counts. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with a bond of $10,000 if convicted of felony he could be facing an assault with a deadly weapon sentence of up to 4 years in county jail and required to pay a fine of $10,000. Count two charge was making terrorist threats with a bond of $25,000. If convicted he would be facing a class D felony a charge that could potentially carry a sentence of two to seven years in the Department of Corrections or one year in the county jail or a fine. The Assistant District Attorney ask the judge could she read the young man file the judge said yes. It stated subject pulled a knife on juvenile girlfriend grandmother because she got in middle of argument to break it up. By stander called police and subject assaulted her resulting in her teeth being knocked out and a broken nose. Officers made it on scene asked subject what happen he told the officers “yes I rocked her ass” then he took off running. When officers caught him he threaten the officers by saying “if I had a gun I would’ve killed you”. The Assistant District Attorney stated that is not only a harm to people he know but also to strangers and he should not be allowed to run the streets. The Defense Attorney then replied with a statement saying his client has some anger issues he need to resolve and he is willing to get help. His client was getting very agitated and yelled out “I’m not saying my attorney is not doing his job but if this goes to trail I want to hire another attorney. The judge denied a bond reduction in this case. I was really surprised at how the defendant sat in the courtroom and laughed like his charges were minor.
On Monday, July, 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm I went to a different court house to observe more cases. I did my observation at The Federal Courthouse in Springfield, Missouri. Magistrate Judge Rush was presiding over the case in the Magistrate Courtroom. I was informed that they would not have much going on for the day. I proceed on into the courtroom I noticed that I was the only observer and the courtroom was very quiet.
The final case I observed was a pre-trial, this case two men were involved but only one appeared in court on July 16, 2018. He was a 32 year old Hispanic male he appeared in court on a return on indictment on July 10, 2018. The reappearance was made because when he appeared on June 14, 2018 he waived his right for an interpreter. A continuance on the case was granted because an interpreter was needed for the defendant. He was charged with two counts and entered a not guilty plea the judge did not read the two counts off. The case involved a codefendant is to appear in court on July 17, 2018 so the judge set a pretrial conference for August 20, 2018. The judge told the Assistant District Attorney and the Defense Attorney they need to present exposure material at least 14 days prior to trail. If they are not able to do so the court is willing to give a continuous.
The court visits provided me with a clear view of the practices of judges and their interaction with the defendants. Judge Margaret Holding Palmietto seemed to be very sympathetic to everyone I observed go before her.
Overall, I saw what I expected to see and the case involving the 18 year old black male was very disturbing. Unfortunately, with everything that is going on in society today there are a lot of cases and not that much time.

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