Today a group of our summer interns and law clerks did some court watching. They are particularly interested in learning how our court system impacts poor Nebraskans. Here’s some of what they had to say about the experience:
It was interesting to see the system in action. That, for me, is a great learning experience because it makes court proceedings less abstract. I was also glad to see that the judge was quite patient with the people being heard. – Taylor, Law Clerk
The arraignments themselves were fairly innocuous: the judge was polite and the penalties were relatively minor, usually only fines around $100. That said - as our legal director pointed out to us afterwards - it is hard to overstate how devastating even fines that small can be to poor community members and the damage being unable to pay those fines can have on their lives after. – Nathan, Pre-Law Intern
An arraignment is an initial hearing where someone facing criminal charges is brought before a judge to have bail set. The individuals our interns saw arranged today spent less than 3 minutes in front of the judge.
I was surprised by the fast pace of the arraignments and liked hearing about the potential issues of the entire process afterwards that I did not catch while in the courtroom. – Rachel, Law Clerk
After a year of law school, it was great to be in a courtroom and see how the legal system actually works. – Shailana, Law Clerk