April 23, 2008

The one where I get kicked out of a courtroom

Yesterday I went to do my first court story.
The courtroom had only two rows of seats. It is customary that journalists can sit in the first row during trials that are open to the public, seeing as they're supposedly representing the public.
However that particular judge wasn't quite aware of that apparently and kicked three of the six journalists out. lack of space he said. well, they should have made space then. or maybe thought about it before, because it's not unexpected that a case about a guy selling 12 kilos of coke through his Viennese Schnitzel-restaurant will attract the public. not a surprise.

however, me and a colleague from another paper came back half an hour later, opened the door and saw that in fact two seats stayed empty. but the crazy judge yelled at us again and didn't let us stay.

It is ridiculous to not admit part of the press to a public trial, especially if another part of the press is allowed to stay, for no apparent reason; just because the judge thinks he's the shit. Needless to say all three of us who were kicked out complained to the district court. I'm curious what will come of it.

The funny thing about this is that is was the very first time I got sent to court and ended up having to call my editor saying: Ummm, I kinda got kicked out of the courtroom ;)


L. said...

Oh some judges are just running wild. A friend of mine who was pregnant and hit by a car got the judge shouting at her because she asked where the accused (meaning the driver) was, as he was not present in court. Maybe you met the same guy.
... Men somehow can't stand the pressure a judge is under. This is why younger judges usually are female.

I hope your boss is of an understanding kind.

LG said...

McC! You're a bad ass. Fight for free press for all of us!

mcCutcheon said...

my boss did indeed defend me. albeit half-heartedly. but he did it.