Okay so Tuesday was one of the best days I've had yet!
My mentor and I went up to the Clark County court house in Vancouver, Washington. We were there primarily to give the court out of state subpoenas, meaning David wanted a witness in Oregon that lived in Washington, so we had to go through this long and tedious process to order the witnesses to show up.
That was kind of the technical side of it, but I got to do two super cool things after that. First, I got to sit down and talk one-on-one with Judge Witteman, who is a good friend of David's. I got to ask whatever questions I wanted to and we had a fairly lengthy conversation about the legal world and the difference between judging and being an attourney. This was so nice of the judge! He took me back into his chambers (I think that's what they call it) when he was supposed to actually be in court and delayed his schedule so I coud talk with him.
The best part of the day, however, was the trial I got to see next. This particular trial has been on the news, and anyone could have gone out to see it, so I can be a bit more specific than past blog posts. I won't give any names, but here's the basic run down:
A couple have four kids. The older two are from a previous marriage, and the younger two are from a current (well actually I am not sure the couple is still together, I didn't get any of that detail). But there are four kids, and all four have the same mother, but the younger two have a different father than the older two. The younger two kids both suffer from some degree of autism. The charges were against their parents, who allegedly locked behind and chained them to a gate where they could not get out. The parents say it was for their own protection, but the state of Oregon says otherwise.
I got to see four testimonies: a testimony from the special education teacher at the boys' school, a testimony from their grandmother on their mom's side (who was actually testifying AGAINST her own daughter in an extremely emotional testimony), the first responding police officer to the scene when it was disvcovered, and the supervising investigator. The most interesting of these was the grandmother. She was actually testifying on behalf of the state of Oregon--so against her own daughter, in hopes of chargin the parents with a crime. She believed that her grandchildren had been mistreated behind this gate. It was an extremely emotional testimony, and was hard to watch. It was probably the most interesting case I have watched since starting this project though. I watched for about two hours or so.
It was a long drive to get to and from Vancouver in the morning and afternoon, but it was definitely worth it.
The Catlin Gabel School
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