Alberto Zaragoza !0/30/2012 AOJ-204 Mr. Martins In Central Criminal Divisions San Diego Superior Court, at Wednesday, October 23, 2012, I have observed my very first criminal jury trial. Court case SCD229101, in department 50. is a first degree murder trial that has occurred on the night of August 11, 2012 (PC187A). The Defendant, Quang Dang, 37, Stabbed his 27-Year old girlfriend, Myra Supiping, who was asleep alongside her children. The defense attorney says he killed out of raged and should be charged of manslaughter due to his mental condition.
I had arrived late for the “calls” and only managed to obtain the judge’s name. Judge Michael T. Smyth made eye contact with me once I had opened the the door to the chamber. I returned eye contact with him and he nodded me in the trial. Once I had take my seat, I felt a rush of authority coming though me. The way the chamber was organized and how the judge was above everyone else made him seem powerful. Everyone in “the bar” was professionally dressed and ready for the trial. Every single one had bags under their eyes, showing stress and hard work to be where they are today.
The Defense attorneys spoke with clarity for the one to receive their words would understand, But they had a broad vocabulary that some would not even understand. Both judge and attorneys understood the law and gave their thoughts on how Mr. Dang should be charged. The defense attorney had brought up a doctor to the witness stand, presenting questions to him before I even arrived. Though I didn’t obtain his name, he was the doctor that had tested Mr. Dang on his mental state. It was very informative that many test are done to see if someone is mentally disabled and capable to stand trial.
The doctor had evaluated Mr. Dang and he was able to stand trial. He had also conducted many test such as MCMI3, a personal evaluation, SCL90R, a 90 symptoms checklist test, and lastly a test on problem solving and abstract thinking. All of these test showed that Mr. Dang cannot preserve patterns, he has the child mind of a six year old, lives in the moment of time and does not plan or think for future decisions. During trial, I was very impress on how the doctor answered the questions professional and looking at the jury while doing it.
He tried to connect himself to the jury to make himself fell friendly and try to get them on his side. As I was studying the defendant, I felt pity for him being mentally disabled. It was stated that he had low self esteem, afraid to be disliked, and relied in his family heavily to support him for childish situations. As the defense attorney finished his questioning on the doctor, The prosecutor took the podium for questioning. His questioning was fast and clear on what he specifically asked for.
At times, he would ask a question before the doctor finished his response to answer the question he had previously asked for, which I found very disrespectful. Nevertheless, he opened my eyes to the other side of the conflict, How Mr. Dang is unable to take care of himself and his children. Through out the time of the trial, Judge Smyth was mostly quiet and was keeping eye contact with the attorneys and doctor. His face had stale look as he had his total attention on listing to what the attorneys presented to him in this case.
His presence made me feel that he was a clear representation of what a judge should look and fell like when you are near his/her presence. As attorneys called objections, he reacted fast in saying terms and codes that I did not have a full understanding of yet. The attorneys understood every word the judge said and did not bother to argue with him either. In the middle of the prosecutors questioning, The judge called for a break due to the length of time the jury has been sitting around listening questions and answers.
The whole time 50% on the jury looked as if they where board out of their minds. As if they never seen murder cases before. It made me feel discouraged that if they were paying attention at all. I am hoping they were so that they will make the right decision in this trial. As I stepped outside, Their was a elderly African American Women and a Vietnamese woman siting outside the courtroom. I sat down near them the finishing up my notes on the trial and to my surprise, They were friends of Mr. Dang. They stated,”How could he do such a thing, I would never expected him to react like this. I did not ask for their names out of respect, because of the shock they both had in their word and emotions. The shock value of murder must be intense if a family member or Good friend commits such an act. I had to leave the court house for unexpected family events and I am still driven to find out what the decision of the case was. But after I had left, my experiences made me have a headache and feeling depressed for a while. Maybe because I am still young and not acquainted with the type of work yet, but I still loved learning what goes on in criminal proceeding and the court room today.