Going to Court via Skype

The video below shows a court processing applications for bail before a judge while the accused are still at the jail.  The use of a video link gets rid of the need to process, transport, seat and return the accused and appears to be a great idea to get some cost savings back into the system.

Mind you, it doesn’t pay to show disrespect, even over video:

A lawyer who viewed this video isn’t impressed:  

A little criminal defense lawyer perspective: First, the judge was clearly out of bounds increasing her bond because he didn’t like her attitude. Release on bond/bail legally is only allowed to serve two purposes – ensuring that the defendant returns to court (skip out and you don’t get your money back), and ensuring that the defendant complies with their conditions of release (mostly – don’t commit more crimes while released). There is no legitimate basis for a judge to modify bail/bond for a moment of flippant behavior.

Second – states that don’t provide arraignment representation suck. Where I practice, the PD’s office arraigns everyone who doesn’t have a private lawyer, even if they ultimately are not appointed a PD. If she had a lawyer representing her, this wouldn’t have happened – the lawyer would have been doing the talking and if she did anything inappropriate the lawyer would shut it down – client control is a lot of the job.

Third – video arraignments cause this kind of shit. She wasn’t in court, she was in jail and the county (state?) set up a video link between the jail and the courthouse to save themselves transportation costs. So she’s standing in front of a little camera with a little screen showing the courtroom to view and she’s surrounded by other detained defendants. It just doesn’t inspire the kind of behavior that actual presence in the courtroom does.

Third- Why not appoint her a public defender – she makes $200 a week, she can’t afford competent representation, jewelry or no…

Finally- the what the fuck factor. This is the perfect example of what is wrong with our criminal justice system. The state (or county) made two choices intended to save money – video arraignments and not appointing a public defender. Probably she wouldn’t have been held in contempt if she was in the courtroom and/or had a lawyer. Now the state/county gets to pay for a month in jail for what – possession of some xanax? Even if you take the contempt charge out of the equation – girl making $200 a week gets picked up for possession of a few pills and they hold her on $5000 – $10000 bond? Unless she has family willing to post or a sympathetic bondsman available, she’s going to sit in jail until she either pleads out or gets a trial – which can take months. So of course she’ll plead out, probably for time served, if that, and be yet another person we just spent several thousand dollars shoving through a kangaroo-court process and tarring for life with a drug charge that will severely limit her ability to move up from her $200 a week job (which she probably lost while she was sitting in jail), all for what – a few fucking xanax?

 


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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