The Criminal First-Appearance Docket
Scenario: A judge must process more than 100 defendants making their first court appearances in criminal cases.
- Would the defendant in one of these cases understand what had taken place in his or her case?
- Did the judge seem interested in making sure that the defendant understood
- His or her rights?
- The next steps that would occur in the case?
- How would the defendant feel about the judge and the justice system after this hearing?
- What steps might the judge take to improve the situation while still processing all of these cases?
- Could the legalese used by the judge and the attorneys be turned into words understood by a layperson?
For Further Information:
- For a discussion of courtroom behaviors that promote a sense of fair treatment, see So What Courtroom Behaviors Promote Perceptions of Fairness, Procedural Fairness Blog, Nov. 5, 2014, available at http://goo.gl/hkgdbT, or look at the Courtroom Observation Report citizen volunteers use for the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, available at http://goo.gl/fS3Jqq.
- For general information about procedural-fairness principles applied to the court setting, go to ProceduralFairness.org.