Thursday, October 07, 2010

Next Week's Beat Assignment: Go to Court

Congrats. You've all been assigned to the courts beat for the week of Oct 11-15. Your task: Sit in on a session of Justice Court or a District Court law and motion session and dig up a story. The story will be due by midnight of the day you choose to go to court. I accept any stories after midnight Thursday.

Justice Court criminal sessions are held every day and run from about 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. You'll see people making their first appearance on all sorts of charges, most of them minor ones. The accused won't say much and the process consists of having the judge tell them about the charges and arranging for bail. If you see a case that intrigues you, go to the Justice Court clerk and ask for a copy of the charges and the affidavit. And then write it up.

District Court law and motion sessions are scheduled for different judges on different days. Check the schedule a day or so before you go and do a little records homework. By the way, I see that Judges Deschamps (yep, same family) and Harkin are holding their sessions Tuesday. The other two judges are taking the week off. Sorry. Look for a sentencing or an arraignment. Remember that they only do felonies in District Court.

What's newsworthy? Serious crimes, obviously. Minor crimes involving interesting circumstances could make news, too.

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