US vs. Jeremy Smith: My observations
The case of US vs. Jeremy Smith involved the legal framework that is enforced to control drugs and narcotics in the US. The defendant, Jeremy Smith had been arrested by the police in the D.C after suspicion of being in possession of drugs and weapons. The police raided the house of the defendant and found samples of cocaine, marijuana and some guns. According to the US laws, Jeremy was arraigned in court for a trial on 11 th April 2013. The case was set to start at 9.30.
As the norm, the judge had to explain to the jurors present in the courtroom about the norm and their roles in court. He explained to them that they should be fact finders who should be in the forefront in factual scrutiny of the cases, not to mention anything about the case when outside the courtroom. In addition, the judge advised the jurors that it is not in order for them to take sides in a situation where they know the defendant or the plaintiff. As per the law, a juror is supposed to report to the judge in case he or she discovers that they know one of the conflicting parties so as not to avert the course of justice. In fact, the judge pointed out that failure to report the matter to the court amounted to an irregularity which is punishable by law. In addition, a juror found to be in contrary to this regulation can get stripped of his or her roles as an advocate in the courtroom. My observations were that the advice given by jurors before the trial session contributed to smooth flow of the case since the jurors were able to pay attention to the presented evidence.
After the judge had finished expounding court rules to the jurors, the prosecutor was allowed to make his statements. The prosecutor was specific in the point that he wanted the judge to accept the application to offer the defendant a maximum sentence for being in possession of drugs. My observation was that the prosecutor was very categorical in his statement and wanted to prove to the judge that the defendant was guilty of being in possession of drugs and assault weapons, something that is common among drug barons. The professionalism I the handling of the case was outstanding. The defense attorney was quick to object the notion that his client owned the weapons and the drugs. However, the defendant did not dare to mention the owner of the goods maybe because of fear of victimizing himself. Failure to name the owner of the items prompted an objection from the prosecutor which was accepted by the judge. The judge summoned the prosecutor and the defendant to the bench. The point I noted at this juncture is that the audience in the courtroom was not allowed to hear the chat between the parties and the bench. To effect this, the judge turned on a noise machine so as to distract the audience from the chat between the judge and the attorneys. The observation made here was that the judge might compose a bench during trial to deal with a crisis so as to prevent extreme cases where arguments in court turn violent for no justifiable reason.
The bench discussed the issues for a period of five minutes after which they resumed the trial. To the understanding of lawyers, the bench is supposed to solve the contradictions or heated arguments that can jeopardize the case. As such, the bench comes in to address the issues in an aside with the defense and the prosecution. The defense attorney was allowed to continue presenting his case after the bench. A claim was forwarded by the defence that the accused was forced to accept the charges on account that he was threatened that his nephew would be taken to a children home and his mother to jail. This was a clear obstruction of the, path of justice. The prosecutor stated that the claim was not substantive and was just a creation of a criminal who wanted to get away from the fangs of justice.
The defendants’ claims did not hinder the prosecutor from pressing on the case. He came forward with evidence which was in form of pictures presented using a projector. The pictures of the drugs; marijuana, cocaine and the illegal weapons were presented before the court. The evidence was important since it would seal the fact that the defendant had the materials at the time of arrest. To seal his argument, the prosecutor invited the detective, Glenn Cupping to explain to the court about his work and to identify the pictures on the projector. The detective was quick to mention that the items were indeed seized at the apartment of the accused. The US park police detective went ahead to produce the real exhibits of the drugs and the guns since such a case required very hard evidence. The court was adjourned for a ten minutes break.
Koski, D. D. (2003). The jury trial in criminal justice. Durham, N.C: Carolina Academic Press.