I was in court with my family regarding a custody hearing and a police officer brought in detainee __________ (name removed for privacy) and it startled me and my hand reached out and I happened to touch him and the officer yelled at me he was going to kick me out. I was unaware of the procedure but it was mishap on my part. ________, after he sat down, looked at me like he was sorry and I smiled at him and was again berated in front of the whole court. I felt that was uncalled for and could have been handled in a more professional way, I am 76 years old and would never do anything to cause harm to anyone. I feel that ... the officer was way out of line and everyone around me felt that too.
I'm sorry to hear about the way they were treated in the courtroom, it must have been frustrating for this person to go through that, being unaware of the procedures. I, myself, can remember a similar experience the first time I was in the courtroom. It was when I saw a woman (who was bald due to cancer treatment) being ordered to remover her hat in the courtroom. She didn't want to because she was embarrassed of her bald head. While she had a good reason not to remover her hat, it is still a rule in the courtroom that no hats are allowed. She was given the choice to stay and follow the rule or step outside the courtroom. There are legitimate reasons that there are certain rules that must be followed to maintain the order of the court.
Officers of the court may sometimes seem like they are being rude or disrespectful but remember, we are talking about the order of a courtroom. These court officials are responsible for the safety and security of the entire court. They must be clear and direct, they aren't necessarily overly concerned about other's feelings. Think of a drill sergeant or a demanding coach; they get results quickly.
After reading this story of someone who did not know how to behave in the courtroom, I decided that it is time for a reminder of the rules in court.
First of all, it is important to remember that a courtroom is intended as a place where serious business is conducted; it is not meant to be a place of entertainment or a show for an audience. As an observer of court, you should NEVER make direct eye-contact or try to physically touch a defendant. If you decide to attend a public hearing, you are expected not to interfere IN ANY WAY with the proceedings. Unless you are called upon by the court to come forward, you should behave like a fly on the wall (only without buzzing or flying, of course). If you are observing court proceedings or waiting for your case to be called, sit quietly and be respectful of the court proceedings. Enter and exit the courtroom quickly and quietly. Eating, drinking, and reading are not permitted while the court is in session. Cell phones must be turned off and should remain silent while in the courtroom. If you have questions, please wait for the courtroom to recess, or have a break, to ask the bailiff, court attendant, or court clerk.
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