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Is Philadelphia This Screwed Up?

This seems pretty screwed up if you ask me.  My first question is why is a judge using a police roll call room as an impromptu courtroom?  Shouldn’t a judge have their own courtroom?  Or at least a courtroom shared among several judges?

And if you’re a judge, who has to hold hearings in a police roll call room, isn’t it understandable that the decorum, I don’t know, might more accurately reflect that of a police station rather than a court room, especially one that just lost an officer.

I can understand the desire to create an appearance of impartiality, but when the city apparently has no money for a proper court room, and you have to use a police station, it seems to be you should respect the people who primarily use the room.  It’s not like the person appearing before you won’t understand he’s being arraigned in a police station.

7 Responses to “Is Philadelphia This Screwed Up?”

  1. Nomen Nescio says:

    why do i get this suspicious feeling the next time that judge needs a room in the police station, there’ll turn out to be a scheduling conflict and the cops will provide him with an alternate, second-choice location in the same building… a second-choice location which, just coincidentally, might have urinals on the wall.

  2. T-Bolt says:

    Is Philadelphia this screwed up?

    Short answer, “No” with an “But”

    Long answer, “Yes” with an “If”

  3. Wyatt Earp says:

    Every divisional headquarters – we have six – is used a few times a week for preliminary hearings. It is just a necessary evil due to the extraordinary amount of cases the city must put on. Once past the prelim, the cases go to the CJC (Criminal justice Center) downtown.

    That being said, the courtroom at the 35th is our/my house. When you’re in our house, you should respect it, especially four days after one of our co-workers is murdered.

    The best part? After the incident someone parked patrol cars in front of and behind the judge’s personal car, blocking him in.

    Must have been an accident.

  4. Wolfwood says:

    I hate to do it, but I have to disagree. It’s a police station, but it’s first and foremost a government building. Having a memorial to a fallen officer inside a space used as a courtroom is inappropriate, as it gives the impression of partiality. Either draping it with black or temporarily relocating it should have been fine, but if I were a defense attorney you’d better believe I’d object.

    It sucks that there’s not a dedicated room, but if it’s going to be legitimately used as a courtroom then it must make sure that the judicial process is legitimized.

  5. Wolfwood says:

    It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that hearings might be held at a police station: there needs to be an initial appearance before a magistrate of some kind, and doing it at the station makes sense. There should be designated place for this, but I’d imagine that the briefing room is normally a good place.

    One one hand, if the station has allotted him this room for hearings, it needs to be suitable (just like you can’t have officers in the room when a lawyer is interviewing his client). On the other, surely some alternative could have been reached. If nothing else, to prevent more bad blood, this judge and some other one need to swap duties.

    It looks like cross-purposes that haven’t been properly understood by either side. The judge should have found some solution that preserved the dignity and impartiality (and appearance thereof) of the process, but the police also should have known that such a display creates an appearance of bias.

  6. Steve says:

    In the TV show The Wire, cops and judges regularly clash, with a judge telling the cop that if he/she does not cooperate they will be held in contempt of court.

  7. Dave R says:

    Well, good. Would they put up a memorial to a fallen officer in a regular courtroom? It’s odd to me that they’re using a police room to begin with, but if they must, it should be treated as a courtroom for the duration.

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