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From a kid's point of view, is going to court interesting or boring?

 
 
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 10:19 am
Mr. B has to go to court in a couple of weeks to testify in a forgery case.

Someone forged checks from his company and they were arrested when they went to cash it. The forgery was so good that it was only caught thanks to an attentive teller who noticed that the check number was out of sequence and called Mr. B to verify it. Because of the high quality of the "check" the police took real notice, thinking this guy was an underling in a sophisticated operation.

We were thinking it might be worth keeping Mo out of school for the day and letting him go to court to see what happens.

Would this be worthwhile? Would he find it interesting or would he be bored out of his gourd?
 
BillRM
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 10:38 am
@boomerang,
Interesting question but I would think the answer would relate to his age and his personality.

Only you or someone who know the child could be in a good position to guess.

When I was very young my folk once took me into Philadelphia to watch my mother on a live cooking contest TV show and I still remember that event in some details.

I would likely lean toward risking him being bore as hopefully this is a one time chance to get to see his father on the stand in court
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 10:41 am
@boomerang,
It might be very interesting, as long as someone explains to him what will be going on before he gets to the courthouse. Otherwise, I can imagine it would be either really confusing or really boring. If you really want Mo to get some education, have him sit down with the lawyer during a recess to talk about the case or about the basics of a trial. Better yet, contact the judge's chambers prior to that day and see if the judge might have a few minutes to talk to Mo about the whole legal process. I know a lot of judges who would be happy to do that.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 10:44 am
@BillRM,
That's a good point.

He'll be a freshly minted 11 year old.

My question is a little more general though. I've only been to court once and that was for about 30 minutes where we answered a couple of questions and signed some papers so I'm not sure how it all happens.

I'm really just kind of worried that it would be so slow paced that he'd get bored. But it also seems like a kind of rare opportunity to watch the justice system in action.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 10:45 am
@joefromchicago,
I think you are right Joe. Sitting and just watching would be pretty passive. Getting to go into the judges chambers prior to would probably cause him to be more involved. I think he would always remember it.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 10:48 am
@joefromchicago,
Wow! That would be cool. Thanks for the suggestion!

Mo's pretty aware of what's been happening on it. Mr. B had to testify to a grand jury, the the guy skipped out on the first trial (hearing?) and Mo's been privy to those discussions.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 11:59 am
@boomerang,
there is alot of boredom in court - much sitting around (probably why it takes forever to get anything down).....so boring in fact that once when I was a juror (on a rape case so you'd think it would be interesting) - that why sitting in the open court during the witness testimony - a spied a fellow juror of mine napping!

It was either boring or due to the beer she drank at lunch.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 12:20 pm
Great advice from Joe. In a few jobs i've had, i've had to go to court to represent my employer, or to give evidence against the accused. I once went to court (it took three visits) because i had accused a man of assault. I once went to court charged with driving without insurance, and because i could get time off with pay for going to court, but not for going to the county clerk's office to show them my insurance card (i simply didn't have it in my possesion when this clown rear-ended me), i opted to go to court to show my card and get the charge dropped.

On every occasion, i was bored beyond words. I like Joe's advice because Mo might understand what is going on, and it could be an educational experience. In my case, i pretty well knew what to expect, and because you are just given a date, with no guarantee of the time, i would have to sit through the other peoples' dealings with the court. There was never any drama, even when i was testifying against people, there were no impassioned speeches, no clever questioning by attorneys--everybody was bored. It was just a job, and everyone was doing their jobs with about the same enthusiasm of some guy on assembly line--which is how it often must be conducted.

The only court experience i've never had is jury duty. Friends of mine say that's boring, too, except for one guy i knew who was on the jury in a murder trial. I'd have passed that up, too, though.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 12:25 pm
@boomerang,
Bad idea (taking a kid to court), most major problem is they're not allowed to laugh.....
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 12:29 pm
@Setanta,
I've served on a murder trial too as a juror. The trial part itself is interesting-testimony and such. But there is so much sitting around waiting - I can't imagine a kid not being bored. If you do have him go -I'd suggest bringing him something he can play with (quietly) during those long waiting for stuff to happen parts.
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 12:54 pm
@Linkat,
There is an awful lot of waiting.

Back when I was practicing (you know, before The Flood), I recall one judge who wouldn't let us read the newspapers in court while waiting. And we would wait for hours. Also - no talking, no walking in and out, etc. Felt a lot like kindergarten.

I brought a book once, and he yelled at me. So I stood up and said, "Your Honor, it's Siddhartha." (it was). I was asked to approach, brought my book with me, and he told me he'd enjoyed reading it when he was in college. Smile
0 Replies
 
manored
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 01:24 pm
The law is very complicated, very slow, and seemingly nonsensical. He will probaly be bored out of his wits, unless he has a genuine interest in law and in the legal system, as well as an enormous patience (greater than the average adult, even).
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 02:00 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
Would this be worthwhile? Would he find it interesting or would he be bored out of his gourd?

Probably a little of both.

It's interesting to sit in an actual courtroom, and to be able to observe how it looks first hand, and how people are required to behave, like rising when the judge enters the room, and the formalities of the situation, and how all the various participants and court personnel perform their jobs, for instance. Watching these things on movies or TV is never the same as actually being there.

When I was 11, I would have loved to go sit in a courtroom, particularly if my dad was involved in the proceedings. I loved to go visit different kinds of public buildings, even different kinds of movie theaters, and I liked to observe first hand things I had read about. Of course, I didn't get to see places like courtrooms as often on TV or movies as Mo probably does, but still, it's always different actually being there.
And I would have enjoyed watching my dad in that kind of situation, because it wouldn't be the way I usually saw him behaving or interacting with others, so I would have found it interesting to observe just because it was my dad on the witness stand.

And, it's good to learn that things aren't always as they seem in movies. Real life trials move slowly, with interruptions, and lots of pauses, and attorneys can't stand right next to witnesses just so they'll fit in the camera shot. So Mo can learn that too. He might even be interested in how the court stenographer can record all the testimony so quickly, or what the court officers are required to do, and maybe he'll get the chance to speak to them.

I'm sure Mo will find some of it boring and some of it interesting. But he'll also be getting to experience something that most of his classmates can't see first hand and that's important and worth skipping a day of school.

Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 02:24 pm
@firefly,
Kinda makes me think too - it might be fun and amusing for a kid to see adults getting yelled at by a judge when they talk out of order and talk back toward the judge.

One other thing - not sure what sort of court proceedings would be going on - but most of people going to court are not nice people. You tend to get alot of low life type people - those regularly getting into trouble. Might not be a problem for Mo - but some kids depending on their ages - might not be the best for them to view these types.

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 02:39 pm
Thank you all for your advice. I thought court was probably a lot more boring than it looks like it would be. I know a few litigators that tell great stories but even they confess that it's mostly kind of boring.

I think my thinking is very much what Firefly said, maybe we were similar kids. It made me remember when I was about Mo's age and my dad decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning to fly a plane. We would beg to go out to the airport with him while he took lessons and then sit around bored out of our skulls until he landed..... and the begging to come next time started.

I was thinking it might be interesting enough to offset the boringness of it, if that makes any sense.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 02:43 pm
@Linkat,
The sad thing about all of this -- this guy who tried to cash the check has never been in trouble at all, and he's in his mid twenties. He's never even had a parking ticket. He's completely squeaky clean in the eyes of the law.

Of course that could mean he's just never been caught at anything.

The police thought he would rat out whoever put him up to it without blinking an eye.

But he hasn't.

That makes me think that there might be some really nasty people behind it and while I don't believe that they'd come after Mr. B or anything it does give me pause.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 03:33 pm
@boomerang,
An 11 year old can find also things of interest that adults might not notice, because we take more for granted and we don't always view things through fresh eyes.

I once spent an extremely boring two hours sitting in a local traffic courtroom waiting to fight a parking ticket I didn't deserve. Since there was nothing to do, or even to listen to, I studied the large wall murals in the courtroom that depicted an incident involving Native Americans and the original residents of that locale. The events depicted just didn't make historical sense to me, but they were interesting for me to think about for quite a while, and when I got home I tried to do some research on those events and I learned some things I didn't know before. So, you never know what you might observe that might be interesting.

I wouldn't expect an 11 year old to be particularly riveted by the legal case itself, but he may well find things of interest in the situation to make it worthwhile for him. I was very happy to find myself seated next to a court stenographer on a train one day because I am intrigued by how quickly they can transcribe information, or speak into a machine so rapidly, and I welcomed the opportunity to ask her questions, and I can't imagine that an 11 year might not be curious about such things too, and the court stenographer might be quite willing to explain it to Mo. Maybe Mo would get a kick out of sitting in the judge's chair, if they will allow him to do that after the court session ends. Even the business of a witness taking an oath is interesting--does someone really hold a Bible? If so, which Bible? And people don't have to swear to God, they can affirm an oath on their own honor. All the little details of the procedure and ritual can be interesting if one takes the time to notice, or if one is just curious and thinks about them or questions them. What are the jurors during? Are they really paying attention? Are they taking notes? Why does the judge even wear a robe?

You never know what an 11 year old might find interesting, or might question, or might want to learn more about. But, I'm sure they'll be something. And, just the fact that his father is an important part of the case, by being a witness, should make that part of it of interest to Mo. Those jurors will be listening to his dad, he's part of what will help them reach a decision.

0 Replies
 
manored
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 05:53 pm
In reality anything can be massively interesting if you know where to look.
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:11 pm
@boomerang,
I think my only concern would be what kind of reaction Mo might have to seeing a cross-examination of Mr. B by the defense attorney, if there is a cross-examination. How would he react to any negative comments made about Mr. B or the company?

Would he be able to maintain courtroom decorum for the length of time required?

Other than that, because he has a special interest in it (Mr. B) I think he'd find it fascinating. If it was just a random case, he may be bored after awhile.
BillRM
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:01 pm
@boomerang,
The way I am looking at it the worst outcome is the young man will have a boring day and the best outcome is it will be an interesting event he will remember for the rest of his life concerning his father and perhaps tell his own grandkids someday about it.

With the large possible upside and a small downside it is my opinion that it would be wise to go for it, as boring days will be all to common however a one in a life time event not so common to say the least.
 

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