Don't ask me why I'm fascinated by things that most people find disturbing. I spent the day sitting in the courtroom at the murder trial of Daniel Erlich - accused of murdering his stepson Robert. I spent a day volunteering to search for Robert when they had people out looking for him when he disappeared. I knew it was fruitless and that he was probably dead, but I also knew that if it were my child I'd want as many people out looking as possible. It's a horrible case and just so you know, I couldn't have sat and listened to them describe what he did to Robert before he died. However, I do find it fascinating to listen to the other evidence, watch the jurors and the accused - and wonder what they're thinking as people testify.
Our justice system leaves something to be desired. I think prisoners should be brought to court in their lovely jailhouse outfits. I was happy to note however, that Daniel seems to only have one shirt. He wears the same one every day - unlike Casey Anthony who has a new outfit (neatly buttoned to her neck) everyday. This, after seeing her dressed in nothing but an American flag at a party while her daughter was "missing." I wish they'd make her wear that one day to her trial - wonder what the jury would think of that.
One reason I decided to go is because I've always wished I had been 15 years older, and 15 years wiser when we sat through Claude's trial. I would have paid more attention to who was sitting where. At the time, I don't think I realized Claude's brothers were there. I would have paid more attention to that type of thing. I would have been more involved - I know I would. We had never been through anything like that and I look back on it with regret that I couldn't have done more.
So I find it fascinating to watch our justice system work in similar trials. I noticed that none of the family members were present. The sign on the door said that witnesses were excluded from the courtroom - is that the reason they weren't there or why would none of the family members show up?
I found it interesting at how quiet his attorneys were, compared to Mike Donnelly and Bill Mauk. Interesting. Although Shannon, who went with me (we used to work together at ISP and now serve together on the Board for the Memorial) thought they spent too much time objecting. They were very subdued compared to the other trial I sat through.
We'll definitely go several more times - even though we got in trouble for whispering to eachother at one point. The Bailiff sitting near the back door "politely" asked us to refrain so that we didn't take the attention of the jurors - who spent much of the day rubbing their eyes and yawning.
It was interesting and I definitely want to sit in on closing arguments. I think I could be a professional court watcher...