The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

Added: Ramar Wampler - Date: 16.07.2021 05:15 - Views: 28584 - Clicks: 9946

We have a new show! The Justice Center in Cleveland, Ohio, takes up a whole city block downtown. It's a cluster of concrete towers built in the s. I could hedge here, but I'm just going to say it—the buildings are hideous, but practical. The Justice Center houses in one location everything a justice system needs—the city and county courts, the county jail, prosecutor's offices, the sheriff's office, and headquarters for the Cleveland police.

Roughly speaking, the building functions like most hierarchies—vertically. In this case, from the bowels up. The main court tower is 26 stories high, so the elevator really runs the place. If a person's arrested in Cleveland, they're coming into the Justice Center from the basement. Weary cops escort suspects from the underground parking garage. They get booked, go up a few floors to the jail. Once they get a court date they're riding up to one of the courtroom floors.

The lower floors are for lesser crimes, less hallowed proceedings—misdemeanors, housing court. And the higher floors, starting about halfway up the building, are for felonies. Detectives wearing lanyards often get off on the ninth floor where the prosecutor's office is. The court stenographers, always courteous, drag their squat wheelie cases on and off the elevator.

Defense attorneys are riding up and down all morning, muttering to each other, can you believe? The elevator mainstays, of course, are crime victims and their families, and defendants and their families. Sometimes, those families are one in the same.

When I'm feeling optimistic I appreciate that an elevator car in a government building is one of the few places left in our country where different kinds of people are forced into proximity. I like to think that we can all stand so close to one another, with our sensible heels, and Timberland boots, and American flag lapel pins, and fake eyelashes, and Axe cologne, and orthopedic inserts, and teardrop tattoos, and to-go coffees. And when the elevator doors open up, spilling us out onto our floor, the fact that no one is bloodied or even in tears, it's a small, pleasing reminder that we're all in this together.

Other times, the shoulder-to-shoulder closeness only magnifies the obvious—we're not the same, not at all. Coming up from the lobby one morning a young black woman is holding a little portable speaker. The white people in the elevator give each other looks. I don't want to reciprocate their looks. Instead, I decide it's my duty to break the tension by saying the lamest thing I possibly can.

To be clear, that wasn't my plan. That's just what came naturally to me, apparently. She doesn't even bother with a "mm-hmm" this time. Now I keep my head down to avoid the looks the black people are probably giving each other. This place is primarily black and white. The majority of the courthouse staff is black. Clerks are mostly black. Most of their managers are white. In the sheriff's department, most of the security guards are black. Most of the deputies are white. Most of the attorneys are white. Almost all the county judges are white, and The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room bailiffs are white.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

Most of the defendants and crime victims are black. In the cocoon of the elevator everyone's polite to each other, pretends nothing is weird about this. But if the elevators were calibrated to detect a power imbalance in the load, like a socially conscious clothes dryer, they'd be perpetually on the fritz. I'm Sarah Koenig. If you've listened to Serial before, you probably know that our first season was about a murder case in Baltimore.

Ever since that story aired, people have asked me and people I work with a question—what does this case tell us about the criminal justice system? Fair question. And to answer I usually say, um. Because the answer is that cases like that one, they are not what's filling America's courtrooms every day. The defendant in that case, Adnan Syed, was charged with first-degree murder.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

He had never been in trouble before. His family hired an expensive defense attorney. And rarest of all, his case went to trial, and it lasted six weeks.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

None of that is typical of the vast majority of cases moving through the criminal courts in this country. And even if it were, I don't think we can understand how the criminal justice system works by interrogating one extraordinary case.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

Ordinary cases are where we need to look. We need to spend at least a year watching ordinary criminal justice in the least exceptional, most middle of the road, most middle of the country place we could find—Cleveland. When I first began reporting this story I called a former U. And he said, Cleveland's not a bad choice. And then he said, please don't be mean to Cleveland. You can be mean to the criminal justice system, but please don't be mean to Cleveland. I told him I didn't plan on taking cheap shots at the Mistake by the Lake, because I'm a classy reporter.

And anyway, we could have gone to lots of cities and the problems would look about the same. Minneapolis or Atlanta or Pittsburgh or Sacramento. Same sorts of crime, same struggle for fairness, same attempts at reform. In most courts though, it's really hard to record. You might need permission from the State Supreme Court. Hello, Illinois. In other places, recording of any kind is barred in courtrooms. What is your problem, Pennsylvania? Cleveland though, they let our producer Emmanuel Dzotsi and me wander the courthouse unencumbered with microphones. We spent more than a year in the Justice Center, following criminal cases of all sizes.

Tiny ones reporters don't usually pause over, like weed possession or driving under suspension. Heavier cases—assault, armed robbery. Up to the most serious crime there is—aggravated murder. Every case Emmanuel and I followed, there came a point where we thought, no, this can't be how it works. And then we were like, oh—oh, my god, this is how it works. This is how it happens. People who have been through the system, who work in the system, maybe they know what I'm talking about. But millions more don't know. This season, we're going to tell you the stories of the cases we followed.

Sometimes they're going to overlap. They might span two or even three episodes. You'll see what we saw from the inside. First case we're going to talk about is small. It's a bar fight. We're starting with this one because it's a simple case, and it's also an example of the system working. I want to show you what that looks like in this courthouse, so you have a baseline for what's considered functional justice in Cuyahoga County. So, here we go. A bar fight walks into a Justice Center. How's it going to look when The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room walks back out?

One morning last spring Russ Bensing, a defense attorney, takes me into a little side room off the hallway on the 20th floor of the Justice Center. He wants to tell me about a case he's got. I'm calling the defendant Anna, which is not her name. She's charged with assaulting a police officer, which is a fourth-degree felony.

Russ is drafting me into a one-person focus group here.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

He wants to know whether an outsider like me will interpret the video the same way he does. I'm his stand-in for a juror. This is a surveillance tape at the bar. This incident occurred in a bar. There she is right there in the lower left-hand corner. Anna's white, young-looking, small. She's wearing librarian glasses, skinny jeans, boots, and a T-shirt that fits her just so. Even in this terribly grainy video, she's attractive. She's leaning on the corner of the bar. There she is. You'll see somebody approach her from the rear and smack her ass.

Anna had gone out that night with her friend and some other guy to a small corner bar on the west side of Cleveland. When I met Anna, she told me it's not the sort of place she usually hangs out. It was her first time there.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

She and her girlfriend noticed these two women down the bar looking at them. I just noticed her and the other girl like constantly staring at us.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

But we still stayed there for about an hour. And that's when—. So I go and get a drink, and this guy is smacking me on my rear end and—. Because men are dogs.

The cute girl in Pittsburgh county court room

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