Courtoom Essay

Submitted By Michael-Ciuffoletti
Words: 6864
Pages: 28

REAL WORLD - THE JUSTICE SYSTEM So much of what we know and think is shaped by television; and it is not always realistic, but it sticks in our psyche. In 1977 there was a television series about a cruise ship called The Love Boat; the result, after nine seasons, was a boom in cruise travel. In 1986, a television series called L.A. Law ran for eight seasons and did the same thing for law school applicants. The glamorization of the noble profession had everyone wanting to be a lawyer. The picture it painted was limited, but it did increase awareness. Fortunately, we have evolved from those days of L.A. Law as the justice system is played out daily through social media. However, seeing real life play out in front of your own eyes, versus simply reading about it, leaves a lasting impression. Observing a district and circuit court proceeding as well as digging deep into a case has broadened my once limited scope. There are so many layers to this constitutional right that we are all privileged to have as citizens of the United States I entered the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse, 231 West Lafayette Blvd. in Detroit, Michigan to observe a federal corruption case in the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. I wanted to take one of the few seats available to the general public so that I could witness the federal corruption trial of Kwame M. Kilpatrick I have never seen or met a criminal; I have never met an elected official and apparently, these days they certainly can be the same thing. I am not easily awestruck because of fame or wealth, but I am impressed by talent and skill. I did not particularly care who Kwame Kilpatrick was; I was more intrigued about who he became. It is astounding that someone with so much potential and intelligence can convince themselves that their own fame and wealth makes them unaccountable. They believe they are suddenly held to a different standard and somehow that translates to being exempt from the law. That, to me, is mind boggling; and it was the driving force behind my wanting to attend. Who are these people he surrounded himself with that fueled this stupidity? As expected, no cell phones were allowed as I lined up to go through the security checkpoint that was immediately inside the front entrance of the courthouse. After clearing security, I asked where I should go to sit in on the Kwame Kilpatrick trial. At first I felt a bit foolish, thinking I might appear as if I was only there to gawk with no sincere interest; but feeling that way was not necessary, the trial was open to the public. I took the elevators to the 8th floor, Judge Nancy G. Edmunds, Courtroom 858. Arriving too early that day was actually a good thing; it gave me time to walk around the 8th floor before entering the actual courtroom. I walked the halls, stopping to really look at the pictures that were chosen to be hanging on the walls. They reminded me of the kind of pictures I would expect to see hanging on the walls of the White House: paintings of the United State Supreme Court Judges, appointees for life. I had a hard time relaxing in this building and I had not even entered the courtroom yet! Being in a Federal District Court Building was like being in church, with an incredible sense of reverence and decorum built-in and unlike Circuit Court, there was nothing singular about anything. You could feel the enormity of where you were without saying a word and it was very intimidating. I cannot even imagine being a defendant in this building. How could anyone come in here and feel superior to this? Later, when I would experience Wayne County Circuit Court, it made me think back about this day and how the two atmospheres were worlds apart. This place was solemn and quiet; Circuit Court was loud and much more casual feeling. It was time to take my seat in the courtroom. I saw the defendants and attorneys for both sides arriving. All the