Today at the Daley Center was simply so crazy that I had to blog about it. I should note that I am under a confidentiality agreement with the Cook County Circuit Court, but that that does not apply to information in the public record (i.e., everything written in this post). So enjoy as if you were in open court with me today.
So, my first two weeks as a judicial law clerk flew by. We are always busy and I've been spending a lot of time observing in court. However, this week has been a bit slower because there are a lot fewer cases on the docket. It's the week of a judicial conference, so at least half of all judges are away from court. That means my judge has been bouncing around covering other dockets, but that all dockets are empty or very light (one or two cases on each call, typically).
Today, however, there was a big trial about a South Side motel that, according to the City and various community members, has been acting as a hub for drug deals and prostitution. I got to observe the whole hearing, including all the testimony from under-cover cops about drug deals and prostitutes, as well as the pastor of a church that has been active in advocating for the shut-down of the motel. In fact, many members of the church were present in court, many sporting t-shirts about the controversy.
It was neat to watch the testimony, as well as the interplay between direct, cross, and redirect examinations. Finally, Judge McGing ruled on the matter, ordering the closure of the hotel. At that moment, the whole courtroom (with the exception of the hotel owner and counsel, of course) erupted into cheers. It felt good to be part of a process that helps a community clean up a hub that's clearly a hub for criminal activity, whether deliberately or negligently. I sort of felt like cheering with them, although I knew I should definitely not do that!
After the hearing was over, I went back to my desk and started working on memos for our next cases on Monday. (The administrative reviews I work on are virtually non-existent this week, so lack of memo-writing has been another cause for slow days.) Of course, what is the basis of the first administrative review file that I pick up? Prostitution. Niiiiiice. It was my first prostitution case, and it couldn't have come at a more apt time.
Being that it's both springtime and Earth Day, a bunch of jokes came to mind. "It's raining prostitutes at the Daley Center" was one. Aside from that, Earth Day was actually kind of fun. It's the day I got my plant Stan in 2001, and I also got a free packet of basil seeds on the street. Yay for planet Earth, and yay for cleaning up the city (even if it's figuratively)!
Tell Them Both
5 hours ago