I received the following email about what happened to a DV case this morning.
I wanted to make you aware of a situation we had this morning for a domestic violence case that was set for trial. The victim confirmed she would be present for court this morning. She is extremely cooperative and very much in fear of defendant. The defendant and his mother have been threatening the victim to the point of a new criminal report being filed last week. The victim had arranged to meet with the victim advocate outside of the courthouse this morning to assure she would not be alone and to be escorted to a private witness room.Given the fact that it is rare to have a victim of domestic violence willing to "cooperate" with the prosecution of their perpetrator to this extent, I am appalled that the judge forced the prosecutor's hand. If you've ever attempted to enter the Orange County Courthouse on a Monday at 8:30am, you'll know that the line is often out the door (a couple weeks ago, it even went all the way across the courtyard and to the curb where the news trucks park).
The victim was not present in the courtroom when the judge promptly called the case at 8:30am. The judge was very upset and forced the Assistant State's Attorney to drop the case (he plans to refile). It was later determined that the victim was waiting in the extra long security line to get into the courthouse and was here the entire time.
Is it too much to ask to give the prosecutor enough time to contact the victim to ascertain their estimated time of arrival? CourtWatch doesn't think so. Is the judge oblivious to the plight of the citizens (victims, defendants, attorneys, jurors and others) who are trying to get inside the courthouse on time?
We're not even going to talk about the mass of humanity that, once they're inside the building, has to wait for one of six elevators to cram into for their trip to the proper floor.
Not only were there about a dozen cases on the docket for 8:30, jury selection takes at least an hour to accomplish (once the jury panel is in the courtroom). So now the victim, who undoubtedly had to get emotionally geared up for her day in court, has to go back to square one and wait for her case to be refiled and processed for who knows how many months? Why did the judge want the victim there before the jury selection process had even begun?
What a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Sorry! Ms. Victim. You won't have your day in court today.
By the way, I've not named this judge because more than one is guilty of doing exactly the same thing.