Court Observation Paper
On Friday, April, 4, 2014, I observed the Vanderburgh County Superior Court to observe different family law cases. The cases I heard involved contempt of court for failing to pay child support, failure to appear for a court appointed drug test, birth certificate affidavit, request for contest hearing time, and an issue of paternity case. Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Corcoran was presiding over the family court hearings. When entering the courthouse, I was greeted by security and advised to remove any cell phones, and/or, any other items that would trigger a metal detector. After this, I proceeded straight to look for the family courtroom. After roaming around mindlessly for a couple minutes, I decided to ask the courthouse officer monitoring
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The judge allowed her time to find an attorney and scheduled a new court date. In the meantime she was ordered to report for a drug test later that day, and warned that if she was not present for the test the court would be informed. A new date was set for her to appear back in court, April, 14, 2014 at 9:30 AM with a public defender. After her next court date was set, the judge also informed the defendant that her child custody would be suspended until the next court date.
The fourth case that was heard was a case concerning a birth certificate affidavit. Both parents were present at the stand, and with them was their child. Each time a person approached the podium, Magistrate Judge Corcoran asked him/her to identify himself/herself in order to know that it was the correct person at the stand. The couple entered the stand with their new born. The Magistrate Judge kindly, but immediately told them to give the child to the grandmother. After handing the baby off, she instructed another woman, with a baby, that no babies are allowed in the courtroom. After the babies were removed, the Magistrate Judge proceeded with the case. The father waived his right to counsel, and was asked to testify that he was the father of the child. After testifying that he was the couple established that they would have joint custody over the child with the mother having primary custody. In the end, since the father was