There’s something totally different about attending a court hearing in person as opposed to watching it on television. Take today, for example. We barely made it to the courthouse on time and I left my purse in the car to get through security only to find that the escalator was down. Using a combination of elevator and stairs, I made it in time even beating Judge Ley into the courtroom while SB was parking the car.
The courtroom was unusually crowded and the front row was full. I had to sit in the very back row next to a defendant and his wife. For some unknown reason, Judge Ley didn’t appear in the courtoom until 8:35 am.
Once the new defense attorney and the prosecutor got started, the people in front of me were talking and the lady across the aisle was having a conference with her attorney crouched next to her. All of this was going on at my ear level so I stood up so I could hear. I’m sure the bailiff thought I was nuts, perhaps even threatening. But I got what I came for.
The defendant was not there, having refused to exercise his constitutional right to be present. Judge Ley stated that she wants him to appear at next hearing. Mr White, the new attorney, stated he hadn’t met his client yet but had plans to so later today. Lafoe is aware that he has a new attorney, according to what White told the judge.
Mr White has a reputation of being expedient and has done two readings of the case file, the second being more in-depth. He was unable to read the handwritten notes and is in contact with Lafoe’s previous attorney to decipher them. Most of the depositions have been done but some have not. Others have been conducted but not transcribed. He’s working on getting them all done.
The next hearing is scheduled for December 14, 2011 but Judge Ley advised both attorneys that she will reschedule if they find it necessary to do so. She also reiterated her policy of having hearings for first degree murder at 8:30 am sharp.
Today’s hearing was short but concise with an air of professionalism. The defense attorney and the prosecutor have a good working relationship and have worked together many times before.
As usual, the prosecutor met with those gathered for the hearing in the hallway afterwards. Also present was Jeanette, the Victim’s Advocate.
There is a good possibility that a trial date will be set at the next hearing. Judge Ley has a backlog of cases so it wouldn’t be any earlier than May or June of 2012.