Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pro Se

Pro Se means a person who represents himself or herself. I will hopefully provide some interesting and amusing courtroom tales under this category. Maybe this will turn into Pro Se Friday?

It's a robbery case and the witnesses are testifying at the felony hearing. There are two defendants caught and a third one we are still looking for. A felony hearing is a hearing to show the court there is probable cause to believe the defendants committed a crime so the case can move forward to the grand jury stage.

Witness 1 is on the stand during the felony hearing:

ADA: "Do you see any of the people that robbed you here in court today?"
Witness 1: "Yes."
ADA: "Please point to the person or persons and identify an article of clothing they are wearing for the court."
Witness 1: "There in the blue shirt" Pointing to one of the defendants.
ADA: "Anyone else?" Hoping they identify the second defendant.
Witness 1: "Yes." You could hear the relief in the ADA's sigh. "In the back row in the blue and white striped shirt." Pointing into the audience. Now you could hear the terror in the ADA's sigh as he tried to figure out what to do.

Witness 2 is on the stand who was not in contact with witness 1 during or after witness 1's testimony. The ADA just asked this witness to identify the defendants.

Witness 2: "In front of me in the blue shirt and the one next to him in the red shirt." ADA is very relieved that both defendants were identified when witness continues. "And back there in the blue and white striped shirt." Pointing to the same man in the audience.

Turns out our last robber came to support his buddies. I thought this only happened on television. I asked myself why he didn't just leave after the first witness pointed to him which everyone thought was just a mistake.


  1. That is hilarious. Can the court officers arrest him on the spot in a situation like that? And would there be need for a P.C. hearing for the third ∆ after that?

  2. The court officers can detain him and they have arrest power. The police officers related to the case were also there and did arrest him, however. There is no need for a hearing in this case as there was no police arranged identification and thus there could be no improper police conduct.