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How do I watch a court trial?

Though local court schedules are about as predictable as a Britney Spears meltdown – wait, that is pretty predictable – as predictable as the end of the world, you can go watch civil and criminal proceedings unfold in front of you even if you don’t own a TV and can’t tune in to Judge Judy. In some cases, you can even throw on your tattered jeans. And these proceedings are live. No popcorn allowed, though.

If you don’t see anything interesting when you first go, just wait. Whether it’s the topic of the case or a client is representing himself, what happens can be as dramatic, and admittedly, as guilty a pleasure as … a Britney Spears meltdown.

To check local listings for court cases in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, go to http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/calendars/Criminal.html.

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3 Responses to “ How do I watch a court trial?”

  1. On June 7, 2009 at 6:19 am sclarkeatt wrote:

    there is a dress code for the courthouse. tattered jeans is disrespectful.

  2. On June 15, 2009 at 11:20 am Veronica Gonzalez wrote:

    Turns out there is a dress code, albeit a 4-year-old one. Signed on Feb. 7, 2005, by former Senior Resident Superior Court Judge and former Chief District Court Judge and present Clerk of Court Brenda Tucker and placed in the hallway prior to passing through the metal detectors, the framed, legal-sized paper written in a font about as big as the one you’re reading and placed well above most people’s heads unless they happen to be 6 feet tall, reads: “Appropriate and respectable dress is required. No person shall wear short pants, tank tops or clothing with vulgar language or pictures. All persons must wear shoes.” I asked our present Chief District Court Judge J. Corpening about this and he said he didn’t remember what was on that piece of paper. But he knew there was a dress code. “When you’re in court with 400 people, are you going to spend your time arguing with people about how they’re dressed or are you going to spend your time on cases?” Corpening asked. “Grownups come to court. When they get up that day and know they’re coming … they’re making a statement about themselves and there’s some value to us in that statement. It tells us how they think about themselves. Sometimes, it might have some effect on their credibility if they clearly don’t care about themselves.” He said that, generally, people come dressed for court, but some judges have asked people to go home and change. In short: “People ought to think about where they’re coming before they’re dressed in the morning,” Corpening said.

  3. On February 23, 2011 at 2:33 am Jan Brewington wrote:

    These are people’s lives- both victim and accused. Show some decorum.

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