Thursday, January 20, 2005

A view of the real world

Today we visited Judge/Professor Paul G. Cassell's court room downtown. Today we watched the procedings of a Marijuna sentencing (for a spanish-speaking guy that merely trimed the leaves of well over 950 plants and did not grow the stuff down near St. George), A meth pleading (for 51 year old guy who will get a very generous 12 years in prison), and a preliminary evidence hearing (on a guy who slapped a woman he was sleeping with and owned a gun).

It was a hard look at what the criminal world is all about and its consequences. Cassell to me seemed very patient and fair. The family of the slapper was very upset that he denied their motion but all it did was set themselves up for trail and/or a plea. I had to be classist and prejudical, but this guy looked like white trash and had a history of violence against women and run-in with the law. Plus, his lawyer was a big, fat moron. Cassell had handed down a draft order (to deny the defense's motion) and the defense lawyer never found/read the case he cited. Granted it was a recent case, but he had a 3L on staff (from the NRA society no doubt) who could have used Lexis-Nexis or WestLaw to look it up for free. That's bad form.

Da Judge went out of his way to listen to every lame argument and explain things to people via interpreter. Further, he pointed out that all the attorney's there went to the U, I guess to make us feel like we had a chance to do those jobs. One even had a SJ Quinney pin on his lapel. The AUSA's stayed on to answer our questions and it was interesting. To me, it seems to have to clerk for a federal judge and know people in the US Attorney's office to get the job. And to clerk, I am betting you have to have really good grades. Sigh....

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