Saturday, January 28, 2006

I went to a federal court for the first time ever...

In Chicago former Gov. George Ryan is on trial for corruption. In Atlanta former ATL mayor Bill Campbell is on trial having been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of racketeering, corruption, bribery, and tax fraud in violation of the RICO statute, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Bill Campbell was Mayor of Atlanta for two terms from 1993 to 2001.

I don't know what Chicago's federal courts look like but in Atlanta they seem to be somewhat stuck in the 1970s. I've yet to go to a state trial court anywhere but the federal court seems to have stepped up their game. I sat a few rows behind the prosecuting attorney. I don't know if he is the Atlanta area US Attorney or what not, all I know was he was standing at a podium asking questions of a witness. I'm not going to talk about the testimony I don't know what the rules are for that. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

I did this for class. The lawyers seemed to be on task. The judge seemed to be ready for this. See I had just left the Municipal Court in Atlanta I saw a session of court that dealt only with traffic infractions. A court room employee offered forms to indicate whether to plead guilty or not guilty. During the time everyone was waiting he (the judge) was shuffling papers like he was a clerk himself.

It has been a while since I have been to traffic court. I rarely drive anywhere so it was mostly my dad many years ago who'd have traffic violations to contend with. I barely remember those days except that traffic court was once further up on LaSalle Street past the Chicago River.

As for federal court well I'm not sure I want to mess with them. They will be on their game while local courts and local law enforcement will have to contend with so much other issues of thier respecitive jurisdiction.

As for the activity in the federal court having seen an actual trial in progress on this day. It was almost like what I'd see in a TV courtroom. Unless we're personally involved we're not going to see what really happens. Of course some of what they do on courtroom shows like objections, approaching the bench, sustaining, overruling, even the all rise part. Then there's the jury taking their seats. It's interesting to see some of this in real life.

This is probably about how the George Ryan trial looks. Also like the George Ryan trial there is a blog covering the developments. I'll provide that link here as well.

Mayor Bill Campbell indicted from Our Georgia History
Bill Campell trial blog from Atlanta Journal Constitution
Jury Seated; Campbell Trial Opens Monday from CBS46Atlanta

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