The Role of the Courts in a Changing Society: A Look at Conciliation Court

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This documentary examines Minnesota's lower courts, including the first taped excerpts ever broadcast from local conciliation and municipal court in Minnesota. Also, a look at St. Paul as a gangster haven in the 1920s. Sixth in a series of documentary programs on the role of the courts, legislative action, and law in a changing society.

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Good morning, mister. October 9th 77 Maplewood racing be charged with driving while Under the Influence driving with a blood-alcohol content of point one or more. Cover both misdemeanors failure to change his address on his driver's license Petty misdemeanor and possession of a small amount of marijuana possession Petty. Misdemeanor is the breath or blood test results. Sure hearing is not staged. It is a recording of actual proceedings in a Minnesota Corporal the making and broadcast of such recordings is practically unprecedented. Minnesota has happened in this state only once before and has been permitted here only on an experimental basis for Minnesota Public Radio interview that contract with the Furniture Barn. They claim that you have not made the famous as you agreed. Is what's the reason why you didn't make this Alliance because it's falling apart. They wouldn't do anything about it. I said, well, I'm not paying anything until I receive a different set. Because I said the zippers are flying out of it the questions when you said I'm on question the other question on Kirby the first excerpt you heard was from misdemeanor arraignments in Municipal Court in Maplewood will hear more from both cars later in the program. They have been edited only slightly for reasons of privacy and time. This program is the sixth in Minnesota Public Radio series on the role of the courts in the changing Society. The series is produced by NPR with the financial assistance of the Nash foundation and the Minnesota State Bar foundation in this program will take a brief look at the lower court levels of Minnesota court system mainly conciliation or small claims court plus a little about County Court. These are the levels of Court which touch the most people which handle the smaller but most common conflicts and we'll hear how different it was 50 years ago back in the days when St. Paul was a wide-open city when politics Police courts and criminals were all one big happy family by with murder. I know and I signed a practicing profitable business was and is who what what punishment nothing more later, but first we want to start by looking at conciliation court Kathleen Merrick is the senior Clerk of conciliation Court in Ramsey County handling. Well over ten thousand cases each year. Merrick's office is one of the busiest in the courthouse small claims court for any claim under $1,000 must be in Ramsey County. except for and damage deposit snow that has been changed its for damage deposit. You can sue a landlord was out of the county as long as the property was in Ramsey County. That's the only exception of threats to the lawn the landlord tenant. Sue the party who rented from them for rent. And the only thing we can take his security deposit or if you have an accident out of step with an out-of-state car, we can also take that and the commissioner of Highways black agent for service and service for accident that occurred within Ramsey County in Minnesota. If you think someone owes you under $1,000 you can take the party the card all by yourself. Generally you must appear in the county where the other person lives but you may file the papers in any County. You'll pay a filing fee between 2 and $10. But if you win your case the fee will be returned. If the person you are suing thinks you owe him or her money from any dealing you've had that person can file a counterclaim and both matters will be heard of the same time. Either party can have the case heard instead in the county court where attorneys are usually needed. But if you go to conciliation court, the result will almost always be the same and you do the whole thing yourself without ever needing an attorney. Person County General What's your name? Naomi Ann address? Patricia Wright Andrew dress Samsung phone Okay, and what is the total amount you want to sue for 500k I can make it 5:10 then because it's going to cost you $3 to go out. And what is it for furniture? They have it? ricklantis Not sure. Which are you living with this person and you moved out and that's why she has it or she was living with this. Patricia is daughter. Okay, they had moved and Can a furniture store that these people's homes within like 3 other parties that are included in this to her son and her other daughter is just a big mess, but they had kind of cases. Do you get what variety of mostly young lot of red cases lot of security deposits on tenant suing for return of their damage deposit and first automobile accidents with a $1,000 jurisdiction that takes him quite a bit. and Practically anything I'm the manager of the Grand Hotel and some could tell her we had their several months ago was drunk 16 days out of the 16 we had on there and somebody stole about $700 worth of electrician tools and he thinks were responsible for it while he's bringing me in the court. I had an accident. I fell asleep at the wheel. I was driving my own car and I hit his he was parked. He wants too much money for the damages. He told me to get out then when I did get out. He claims that I owe him money for rent and he didn't give me 30 days notice and on top of my offer to pay him the rent which he refused. So I said I would let it go as far as going to court about it cuz I wanted to explain it to the judge and see what he come up with and where the he thought I should pay it or not. I love a woman hit me in an automobile accident in January in my insurance company and I have had trouble collecting. So we're here to get our money from her. She was uninsured at the time and Also drunk I'm too quick for some clients. I haven't paid me and we just Community Action in Flames. So I'm just at 7:00 to see if I know this is a special session. Well, that's probably true. Although I have no idea for sure how many of them also up contacting me already and I either paid or expressed a willingness to pay and so forth. We made arrangements with otherwise a few of them haven't contacted us since we're proceeding with all them small amounts ranging from 200 to $500 for a special session of conciliation Court. Usually special sessions are healed for collection agencies we have agents The second one calendar just for them for one credit agency interview several collection agency representatives for this program, but none would talk one man from credit bureau collections was filing a dozen clams at once and do most of the clerk's office Personnel by their first names and asked if he would share his knowledge of conciliation court with us. He said no, I don't want to get involved little Feller little Feller graying hair balding payments of bad debts from people and collects them for a commission. Joseph Summers is a Ramsey County municipal judge who sometimes handled conciliation court conciliation court is billed as a consumer cart, but the last session of legislature raise the jurisdiction to $1,000. There are very few consumers who have thousand dollar coin. It has resulted in a situation where a conciliation court is a very cheap way for loan companies industrial on and thrifts collection agencies and what not to get default judgments against skips and so forth for $3. And if you were to just count numerically just count the numbers. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that our biggest customers are creditors. And I don't know why there's anything wrong with that under Minnesota law. Now, you can't garnish somebody's wages. Unless you have a judgement. So we have to provide the creditors with an inexpensive way to get their judgments descendants usually don't even show up for these collection cases the defendant default sore losers automatically. When what agency are person has many such claims. The clerk's office will arrange a special session of conciliation court. So all the claims can be handled at once. In fact with most defaults. The judge doesn't even hear the case. It is so automatic that acrylic handles the paperwork and in most of these cases, even when the defendant doesn't show up usually has no real defense then is Judge John Kirby points out. There's little the judge can do except to see that all the defendants rights are protected. At the what the balance is is compared to what was the amount of the loan? And for example, you might get a person who in the original or borrow $500 from The Lending Institution. And by the time we get into court and so forth with the the interest and the loan class and so forth you find that this person may be paying in excess of 20% interest. And I can only speak for myself. I scrutinized the records that are brought in by The Lending institution to determine if there's been any user is interest charged, but if there's any over-reaching on the part of the lending institution that I feel it's my obligation to to look for it because the the defendant is being is the one who's being collected against and I think it's interesting that should be looked out. I think in the same token, you're looking out for the interests of the lending institution and it seemed to that they're doing it proper to properly. However. There isn't much a judge can do even for the poorest debtor. They may come in and uses a defense that they can't be and the reason that they can't be is because they lost their job. They assume that the loss of a job is to defend against the judgment. Or that they've had to change employment or they have been ill and the people think that they are these our defenses. These are legal defenses where they are not and this becomes very difficult to explain and it's almost inexplicable too many people about all the judge can do is try to help the party set up a reasonable schedule for repaying the debt. But most of these kinds of cases don't get to court last year Ramsey County head over 10,000 cases filed and conciliation Court Hennepin County had twice as many but perhaps over two-thirds of those cases were settled by default. And so we're never heard by a judge many other cases with your file. Don't reach the judge because the parties negotiate a settlement themselves. Sometimes that happens right in the hallway just before court is about to begin. You with your charge too much so I know and the Cherokee or the charger. What is a bill what it is disagreement on them? But a new laboratory, I don't think it works right he feels like it does. So I paid him $100 already what he wants to do still hundred dollars or try to make a cell phone right here is your word good now Chris. Oh, yeah. But sometimes people do try to negotiate and it just doesn't work out but she wasn't there. She didn't really say she just said she want to take me to court and if We wanted to see tell outside my Cigna. I'll go to Commerce you all know. Basically a conciliation court is a small claims court for people can come into court and settler claims against one another without the need of having an attorney. The jurisdiction of this court is limited to $1,000. The only type of judgment that you can get against another person is in money. I judgment for an amount of money. You cannot get a judgment for a thing or can you get a judgment ordering somebody to do a particular thing. The only thing that you can get is a judgment in an amount of money For the benefit of those of you were here for the first time and possibly for a good review of the ones that are here probably having been here before we proceed this way keeping in mind that this is not a la carte and we do not follow strict rules of evidence as you would in a regular Court Ruth. Do not follow the regular procedure so far. We will proceed this way when your case is call your name is call. Please present yourself before the bench. And if you have any Witnesses at that time, bring them with you, if you have any exhibits when I mean papers objects, whatever it is that you wish to show the card in the presentation of your case. Be sure you bring that with you when you are before the clerk will Square you when you be put under oath and everything that you say after that will be under off and we will proceed this way the plane of that is the person who is bringing the complaint or the claim against the other represent his case first. I say presenting his case. I've asked you just to presenting your own way and in your own words. Why is that you feel you have a claim against his other party for a certain amount of money? At the conclusion of that the presentation of your case, then the defendant will be given an opportunity to speak in his own way and in his own words into percent his exhibits and so forth as to why you should not have to pay you the money that you claim that he owes you or that it should be a lesser amount if the defendant has a counterclaim at this time, he presents his counterclaim against the plaintiff in the same manner as the plaintiff presented his claim against him and then in turn up the plaintiff gets an opportunity to respond to that counterclaim. At the conclusion of this testimony. Is there any questions that the court has in mind to clear up any manners? These questions will be asked. The respective parties and the matter will be taken under advisement and you will be notified by mail of the decision of the court within. the week to 10 days with the clerk. Please call the first case. Furniture Barn versus Lowell is true. Furniture Barn versus Vista Road, Suite A Land Stahlman contract you've had no payment iron. What was it that the party was supposed to blot? sofa chair Return to Stock Exchange of yourself. We just put on a time payment plan. Is that what you're saying? Do you have the sales contract there? Is that about it? You want to take a look at the sales contract that your signature? Did you enter that contract with the Furniture Barn? They claim that you have not made famous as you agree. What's the reason why you didn't bring it? I've been out there. They won't wouldn't do anything about it. I said, well, I'm not paying anything until I receive a different set. Because I said the zippers are grown out of it the questions when you said I want question the other question over Falls over the other one it and when you sit down and we've got about this much space between the judge Kirby was the first judge to let us in his courtroom with are microphones after first getting the consent of the parties prior to Kirby only Hennepin County District Judge Suzanne Sedgwick had permitted the broadcast media into the court. She did it for an NBC TV special on Divorce Court only five states permit the broadcast media to record in the courtroom. Minnesota is still cautiously toying with the idea soon. The state supreme court is expected to let radio and television record its proceedings on a regular basis and the State Bar Association is studying the issue of letting the broadcast media into the lower court. Trial judge. Kirby has made a significant step in breaking the ice on this issue. Okay, and they sent me two different pieces it took me from June to October to receive the other piece. That's because he had to bring a different piece. Wausau trash one of the things I think that's a mistake that the conciliation court judge can make Is to not let them go ahead and speak through their whole safe. Is it kind of a catharsis? It's opportunity with a can. Say everything that they have the same name checked their feelings and shut them off and letting them go online and see what they have to say and get it off their chest. Even though you might fully well have any I said a matter of just a few minutes you you know, what the legal issue is and how the case do I have to go but keep letting them go on in and have their full day in court and so are they go out? They can feel it, baby. And I called him back when I told me that these questions just are not right. They're falling at the zippers. The Christians are so thick that the zippers are tearing right out of the material and the core the foam rubber is real, but I'm going to sit down on it. You have the space between the Army and the the questions and when you're sitting on one person the other question bounces right up. In the in the in the springs on the bottom of the Davenport or are you just for just the one who is the poorest litigant in a conciliation court is the one who tries to block? Or 2% things that are not true or to deceive. He's not honest. He doesn't present his case. Honestly, there's no dispute between parties where one party is 100% right and the other parties 100% rock this may occur on a cage, but it's very rare is nobody who thinks that his lawsuit is unimportant. It may only be over a $19 bill. But if the plaintiff is a 12 year old kid who's got a deadbeat that one pan for his paper route. I don't know by what right we claim that's less important than some gigantic antitrust case important compared to what a few times a month. Joseph Summers will be the judge running conciliation Court in Ramsey County Attorney's impede conciliation court and I think most attorneys feel the same way and they consolare Clans to just go in cold. and throw yourself on the mercy of the court has it. Where do you get your money back if I get a d? Is the whole thing? I did had so many exchanges. I said well then give me the right material. Give me the right quad and I know that exchanges are you willing to take me to give the furniture back? The exchange was raised in conciliation court is back wages many people don't know that if they are fired they can demand their pay within 24 hours. If the money is not paid by then the discharged employee May charge and collect the amount of his or her average daily earnings for 15 more days or until the back wages are paid a person who Quits his or her job has similar, right? But they don't begin until five days after the demand for payment is made that's a simplification of Rights established by Minnesota statute. 181.13 + 14 + ciliation cord is designed to deal with these statutory claims as well as more unusual claims that are living together not married when they break up and have bought things together and come in and file claims for you know, they want their half of the money for the couch in the bedroom tables or not. They like well, you know, really a conciliation court. I don't like as much as a lot of other assignments are usually have to get dragged into a Kicking and Screaming by the assignment clerk, but I always have fun once I get there. The case I can remember best was a good-looking young woman who claimed that boyfriend of a roommate would let the plug out on a waterbed and flooded a whole bunch of volumes of Psychology today, which she claimed to have a value of some $200 and the kids excuse. Was it the cork? It just popped out when he was lying there taking a nap and a girl responded by saying that beds had real hard usage in the cart never popped out. They bring me a different set. I'm unhappy with the Saturn. How long have you had a chance rent since June? How much have you paid on? I'll take the matter under advisement you hear from course within a week to 10 days. We also talked to judge Donald gross. He said the decision making and conciliation court is relatively easy even went to apparently honest people tell contradictory stories. He says the criteria to use this is the same what you tells juries to use in judging witness testimony to the side of the person isn't interested in the case weather related to the parties or an independent witness other ability to know remember and relate the facts. This is particularly important because people will testify the things and you have to decide whether in a position really to know what they're talking about you look at the person's Manner and appearance his age and experience whatever person appears to be honest weather and sincere. For the testimonies reasonable or unreasonable considering everything else sometimes testimonies impeached or probably other things may come to mind indicates you whether you trust this person or not. For example, if a person has been convicted of several Major Crimes, there's a certain reluctance to leave them a lot of those days if their politics was right manipulations and elections and we didn't have the 53 years ago began the practice law in st. Paul today. He's a patrician of the community back when he started out. He tells us decision making in the carts and in the community was much different than it is today. If you are this was always a democratic Administration ago. We had a police chief by the name of Was it that's an even before I started practice law and if you were in with the party democratic party elections were a stuffed ballot boxes a but won't see them a lot of immigrants don't days. I didn't know what the hell is going on. And if they got a buck her to the precinct boss with lead them over to the pulley play the my compass baladi couldn't read or anything like the way you wanted it and the result was if this fellow was a member of the democratic party or a friend of O'Connor was chief of police and he wanted to be a judge you be sure to be elected and they had fellas that were highly incompetent and and not honorable. You don't get those things you get somebody that may be less confident more confident these days. But you had some bad ones. They were district court judges that didn't know what the hell was going on and couldn't even read a case. I know what the hell they were read it, but you don't have that. Publicity and radio on TV and everything is all good judges got by with murder those days Ransom judge find out what the hell is he was on foot or horseback? Ulysse law off. He was a judge made me for 40 years is it like he was part of the O'Connor machine. That's how he got in and he knew less than a day and the day you start to practice law if anything. And there isn't there. Call Noah Noah. Stacker says that today's system is different largely because of media scrutiny. And as everyone who reads Time Magazine knows Minnesota is now rather. Well known for its clean politics recent prosecution notwithstanding. There's no police chief O'Connor today to run st. Paul but judges will always be powerful members of the community and they are still largely chosen by political parties or Elite attorney organizations today. There are several times as many judges as they were 50 years ago and there are so many cases in Ramsey County that there are four clerks employed just to do judicial and calendar assignments judges take turns on different judicial assignments one day they may set in conciliation court the next they may hear traffic and misdemeanor arraignments the next day. They may start a long Civil or criminal jury trial in 1924. There was Maybe three or four, no three disregard judges. There are two municipal court judges and one of them is Bacardi. I just took care of conciliation court that originated Miss practicing law and a municipal court judge would take an hour about every day from about 10 to 11. That's how the cases were. You taking me to hear while all the people that were there was only one day there was collection matters which didn't take an hour or so, even though his hearing. May I remember those days automobiles wearing so many and they didn't have to have his many cases. It does the most of time between 10 and 12. All the conciliation court case is over there then they had a justice court at that time where you have a Justice of the Peace cuz he took care of all unlawful detainers, you know. And those were a joke. I mean it is he is he worthy plaintiff? And you paid the fee of the Justice naturally you'd win, joke, is that the justice of the peace who was it didn't have to be a lawyer usually anyway, and the fellow that could get the roles and be elected and the common thing was the joke of the thing is the justice of peace want to act like a judge. He would say he'd heard the judges the real judge make sure Mark and he would follow up by saying I will take this under advisement for 3 days at which time I will find for the plaintiff. That was a common joke, isn't he was acting very judiciously going to give it thought as he says things have changed a great deal in those years today as then actual presentation of a case and conciliation Court rarely takes as long as it is taking to tell you about it. And today decisions are never made from the bench litigants always learn the decision through the mail about 10 days later and for 90% of the litigants. That's it. They've had their day in court they won or lost and it's over most of those who have lost money will pay willingly with others. The winter. Sometimes must go back to the courthouse for help with collection in Ramsey County. They go back to Kathleen Merrick's office after the 10 days. If it hasn't been paid or reopen to repeal the prevailing party. Can we come in and get an execution? They transcribe the Houston Municipal Court and get an egg. And then they can levy on the bank account under their wages or anyting actually at the Havoc from take a car if the execution to your name to take it to the sheriff in the county where it's going to be Levi has to go into it would be have to be transcribed from Ramsey County Municipal Court to Ramsey County District an execution issue there and then to say Hennepin County district court in and goes to the Hennepin County sheriff and get the next County Municipal Court what type of the execution give it to you and you actually take it down to the sheriff on the first floor and then he would go but you have to tell him he isn't going to go out and look for something to Le'Veon. Everything is added on to the judgment. Of course, some people are dissatisfied with their then conciliation court and they have the right to appeal their decision to a higher Court even people who have lost by default May sometimes get their case reopened if they have a good reason why they didn't show up in court appeals cost another 15 or $25 and must be filed within 10 days after the conciliation court decision is mailed out appeals from conciliation Court are unlike most lawsuit appealed and that the whole case is heard over again. Something called a trial de novo this second hearing occurs at the county court level in Hennepin and Ramsey County's. This is called County Municipal Court. County Court judges also serve as conciliation Court judges. They just take turns in the different assignments. The proceedings are much more formal it County court all the courts above conciliation Court are called Lockhart because they use formal Rules of Evidence formal presentation of testimony on the light. In fact any case which could be tried and conciliation Court could also be tried originally in County court or sometimes even in District Court. It is in these jumps from one kind of state court to another that structural and jurisdictional differences become difficult or for reasons best known to the legislature and what your historic only there are only two carts in the outstate County's district court and County Court. They have different jurisdictions. I can tell you more than you want to know what they are. The county court out state has jurisdiction over a divorce juvenile probate commitments for mental illness or mental instability or alcoholism misdemeanor criminal offenses. Civil a Thumbs up to a certain figure I think $5,000 conciliation court and traffic card. The district court has jurisdiction over everything else. I'm oversimplifying but I don't want to take an hour going into the details and end up in Ramsey County. We have a probate cards which has jurisdiction over probates of Estates and commitments of people for alcoholism in metal L. We have a district court which is divided into juvenile family and general divisions. The juvenile division runs a juvenile card. That's a separate operation the family judge Runza family card. That's a separate operation the district bench handles all the rest of the district court jurisdiction. We have a municipal court which has jurisdiction only over misdemeanor traffic offenses conciliation Court evictions and civil cases up to $6,000 on top of that. There is the federal court system and both the state and federal. Are less complicated than the federal state and local administrative authorities which handled more cases and settle more disputes than courts of law. We told you at the beginning of this broadcast that the program would describe the court structure in Minnesota. We really can't do that since the structure remains a labyrinth in spite of legislative efforts to simplify it. Basically, there are three kinds of judges in Minnesota that is there are three kinds of traditional state judges ignoring for the moment. The federal judges in the various administrative hearing officers first in Minnesota. We have Supreme Court Justices nine of them. They spend their time and serious deliberation of waiting legal issues, which have been appealed to them from lower courts second. There are district court judges 72 of them in 10 districts, which your big money claims and felony criminal cases and some appeals from lower courts. And third there are County judges over 100 of them all 87 Minnesota counties with your money cases under five or six thousand dollars and misdemeanor criminal cases conciliation court is effectively just part of County Court. That's a gross oversimplification. But rather than going into further detail. We thought we'd give you a taste of the next higher level in the state court system misdemeanor and traffic Arrangements one. Cool Autumn morning in, Maplewood, Minnesota. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Ramsey County Municipal Court. Why don't those of you who aren't in the hall come on in and sit down because I have to Warn you about your rights and some other matters before court opens. We don't have a prosecuting attorney yet, but well. morning, mister gusto and when your name is called come up front and stand in front of the bench at that time the prosecuting attorney. Mr. Martin Costello will read the charge that's been placed against you. After the charge has been read. If you want some time to see a lawyer, all you have to do is ask and we'll give you a week to see your lawyer and come back here. If you're charged with something serious and you can't afford your own lawyer, you are entitled to be represented free of charge by the public defender. But if you want to see a lawyer either in private practice or with the public defender's office, you must ask if you don't ask for a lawyer will assume that you want to go ahead by yourself and if you don't want to see a lawyer. You may play it either or not guilty or guilty. If you plead not guilty your case will be set for trial at that trial. The state will have to prove Beyond a reasonable doubt that you did what the state says you did at that tryout. You'll have the right to hear the witnesses testify. You have the right to ask questions when out of those Witnesses when they're through testifying that's what we call cross-examination you'll have the right to call your own Witnesses and you won't have to say anything. If you don't want to you cannot be required to testify against yourself in a traffic or criminal case. If you do not want to plead not guilty. You may plead guilty. If you do plead guilty. I will ask the prosecutor to read from the police reports so that we both know the details of what the police say about your conduct. I will ask you what you got to say for yourself and my sentence will be based upon what the police say and upon what you say plus your previous record. If any if you have a good record, of course, it'll help you if you have a record, that's not so good. It won't necessarily hurt you. But of course, it's it's not exactly a plus Factor. Now you should keep in mind though that if you plead guilty you give up the rights that I mentioned to a trial and you also admit that the charge is true. In other words you admit you did it and I will take your guilty plea as mating just that I suppose what most people are most concerned about in this court or what's going to happen to them. If they plead guilty or are convicted after a trial most offenses in this quarter disposed of by means of a fine or supervised probation or some combination of those things inappropriate cases. People are sometimes ordered to attend alcohol or drug treatment. There are a few matters which can result in a sentence to the workhouse. There aren't too many of those on the calendar this morning. If you are pleated thinking about pleading guilty, but are concerned about whether you'll go to jail or the workhouse. If you do ask me before you plead guilty and I'll tell you and then you can make a reasoned decision whether you want to plead guilty or whether you want to plead not guilty. Now, we're going to begin calling the cases. I would ask when you come up here that you please not lean on the bench and I just speak up so that I can hear you in my court reporter who is taking down everything. That said can hear you. 12215 Richard good morning, mister. October 9th 77 Maplewood racing be charged with driving while Under the Influence driving with a blood-alcohol content of point one or more. So they're both misdemeanors failure to change address on his driver's license Petty misdemeanor and possession of a small amount of marijuana possession Petty misdemeanor after blood test results. With a .12% breathalyzer test. Do you want time to see a lawyer before you proceed further? Okay. Did she give you any instructions about what you should do this only pleaded not guilty very well. Not guilty pleas have been entered. These matters will be Consolidated on the jury free trial calendar at a pre-trial conference date from the clerk. And then after you leave here you call mrs. O'Neill and make sure that she knows the time and place of that confer. Thank you. 50 years ago the arraignment you just heard might have occurred much differently. It's all judges got by with murder. I know and I started practicing in the Municipal Court hear that was during prohibition. See the most profitable small business. Bootleggers, we're in there and they've been hauling in 2 minutes for court and it was a very good friend of mine right the ticket issue. What what punishment going to court someday with 10-12 cases for 9 downstairs in the prison jail just where it is now and 15 minutes and that if a fella was in for four five times the judge would turn to me and say Ralph. What do you think we ought to do with this while he's been in a lot of that in DayZ be lucky because I love you. And there was a big money in it those days, you know 1924. I sometime end up with $1,059 for an hour's work when I got a hundred a hundred and fifty and $200 just for appearing that one's that's the way it had a lot of the machine would get behind them get them elective. They were unknowns and they are they be appointed of some vacancy occurs because of the question was where you a Republican or a Democrat and we can go see a shins today are usually a bit more open Saturdays DWI over appointment on September 30th charges misdemeanors. Do you want those charges red light if I was your client with? Mr. Smith and I have already By this time the court is willing to man the charge of driving while Under the Influence. What was the breath test reading? What are the circumstances justifying the reduction of the charge? bierstube been speeding I'm 35 and 35 lb weighted driving influence is amended to a charge of careless driving while your client plead guilty. Mister the charge of driving while Under the Influence is Amanda to a charge of careless driving. Do you understand that I'm not charge you have the right to a trial by jury against the state would have to prove Beyond a reasonable doubt that she has occurred today sometimes in open court sometimes and closed chamber judge Summers asserts that while there may be a negotiation. There is no plea bargain. First of all the police overcharge you stopped for drunk driving you end up charged with driving while Under the Influence driving with .10% or more blood alcohol careless driving speeding no left rear tail light open bottle and disorderly conduct. Now it's understood by all the players except the poor defendants that it's all going to go away if he pleads guilty to drunk driving that's assumed. It's not a bargain. It's like that's the prosecution's openers are those a tickets. So when you come down to talking what the defense wants to know is Judge, what do you do if he pleads called to driving while under the influence? Or they want to know if the prosecution thinks it's got such a weak case. They'll reduce it to careless driving. The reason I think that's bad they call this a bargain is it the defense of this is contributing anything except his guilty plea? The defendants only bargaining power is his capacity to go to trial and with the public defender system particularly. There are practical constraints on that. Public defender doesn't have enough people to take all these clients to trial. The prosecution doesn't have enough prosecutors to try them and we don't have enough judges to hear the cases. But that's that. Lands with equal Vigor on all three sides to the alleged bargain play negotiation is one of the more complex and controversial aspects of corn operation and we can't do much more than mention it here another serious problem raised by all this discussion concerns. The traffic tickets themselves specifically tickets for drunken driving alcohol is involved in half of all fatal highway accidents at certain times of the day. It is estimated that over half. The people on the road have been drinking drunk driving is possibly a more violent act than the most vigorous aggravated assault yet. Most people don't really consider it a crime that last offended you heard was permitted to plead to a lesser offense, but he still will be evaluated for alcoholism if he continues to get in such trouble his driver license will be suspended and maybe he'll eventually see the inside of the workhouse. But the courts can't deal with everyone who has his problems and they can't solve the problems of the people who do get caught in spite of what the courts do alcohol will remain now as it was during prohibition the major death drug in America and traffic offenses of all kinds will it rain the most common items handled by the court system the courts have ruled over 170,000 traffic matters last year in Ramsey County alone. It's only a very small percentage of traffic citations ever get to court and usually those are the worst or the most unusual incidents. Good morning rooster. Thomas is charged on the 25th day of October 1977. See you in North Saint Paul is speeding 101 in a 55 a misdemeanor. How do you please answer guilty or not? Guilty? Well now he's on his cock by the vehicle in verified by radar by the fender never denied speed stated. He was in a hurry to help a friend. Who was getting beaten up hitting lady as vehicle? No, driver's license possession. 3 Mustang going to protect Pastor concludes is Carol Austin 74 Mr. Hunt's your side of this. I was Hey, I was so I went to this Martin with your tools and I was down there for the friend and he told me if asked me if I'd stick around because this one was really giving him the eye because he was playing football with his old girlfriend. So I stuck around and I didn't this kid left. So then me and my friend left and I was waiting for this girl to come off my friend drove away. And I was on the bouncer at the bar is a friend of mine came running out and told me. This guy had followed Scott my friend out of the parking lot and was going to catch him when I got to his apartment. I got my head been talking about it at the barn. So I want a reason to catch Scott before you got home what happened to Scott and his apartment buzzer apartment, so I never got it. Well next time leave the Vigilante stuff to the police or else drives slower where you work Mister 916 Vortec. What are you taking up there? Do you have any source of income at all? Like I really I just can't ignore 155. I reasonably forgive the fine on this charge is $50, which is half what the fine schedule calls for its $50 in one day now, how long do you think it would be before you can pay that? Okay. Thank you. I should explain for fines. We do accept personal checks if anybody's concerned about that. Nobody hardly ever gives us a bad check. online 12 carat You know anything about mr. Morning and they they related that they didn't expect him to show up. He has never cooperated with any program. He's been another courts have not been at the orientation class because I don't have a car fixed at $100. Princess there was a certain lawyer binacle. His name was nothing. He was a Shoemaker and those days you could redo off and if a lawyer certified in his office for a year to you would take me to buy a be admitted to the bar by Nicole. He wore a frock coat little guy and he became a lawyer so you couldn't see in that hole that they kept a prisoner see they take him out from the jail and bring them downstairs those days at County Jail. It was connected to him and brought him in there, but it was just a whole no lights or anything and I'll tell me another story about that no lights. Jessica beinecke I would get there every morning. It opens 9 and Barnacle with couldn't see who it is that at any you guys need a lawyer and he would have careful for a quarter or half a dollar whatever they had and you appeared to whatever whatever they had. Once you got down here for a dollar to sometimes La Quinta Inn, $10 bill. Just also how you might have been treated had to use them 50 years ago. This program has been produced in Minnesota Public Radio by Bill chill with engineering assistance from David felland funds for the series are provided by the Minnesota State Bar foundation and the Nash Foundation would also like to thank Ron bush in ski Lori angstrom Janet Paulsen, Bob Seger and Gala wadna Zach for their assistance. This is Bob Potter.


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