The Judiciary’s role is to give everyone fair access to the courts to solve legal problems fairly and efficiently, decide justly the guilt or innocence of anyone charged with a crime, and interpret the laws and protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitutions of California and the United States. Criminal court is where you go when the state believes you have committed a crime and it files charges against you. The Criminal Court has jurisdiction over infraction, misdemeanor and felony cases. The Criminal Court conducts trials, motions, arraignments, preliminary hearings, probation hearings, mental health proceedings, and other types of criminal proceedings. In this essay I will be discussing my visit to the Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana on March 26, 2014 and my observations of the criminal proceedings in Department C58.
In the courtroom were the public defenders, the district attorneys, private attorneys, court clerks, a court reporter, a bailiff, a resident probation officer, the judge, in custody defendants, out of custody defendants, spectators in the audience and when needed an interpreter. The defendants were charged with a variety of different crimes including petty theft, drunk in public, under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and more serious crimes including possession of a controlled substance for sales, possession of a fire arm, commercial burglary, forgery, fraud and counterfeiting as well as probation violations.
The judge took the bench at around 9:30 am and started with the defendants that were charged with misdemeanor offenses. The judge called each defendant’s name; each defendant would step up to the podium, the judge then gave notice of the charges the defendant was currently being accused of. On several occasions the judge called the name of a defendant that was not present, she then issued an arrest warrant for the defendant, revoking their current bail, in some cases a...
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