Court Watch Observation Jim Hoffman OFM 11-12-09

COURT WATCH REPORT Thursday Nov. 12, 09 Court 1 Judge Katsivalis 9-11AM

All told, there were nine family members, including two African young men, present. There were 5 lawyers present. Lawyer fees are notoriously high. I wonder who pays their fees as often they just sit in court waiting for their case to be called. The respondents, handcuffed, were also present in their orange or tan McHenry County jump suits. The accompanying federal officer always referred to the respondents as “gentlemen.”

The cases today involved removal of the respondents and they were continuance hearings. The respondents languages: “Som” (I presume Somali), Spanish and English. A translator was available for the Spanish speakers. Most of the conversation was between the judge and the lawyer and it concerned paperwork/documentation – documentation of arrests and time served and proper forms for whatever the respondents were seeking from the judge. (I don’t know what form “I-290”, etc., means.) Two of the Spanish speaking respondents were there for their fourth continuance; they did not have lawyers. The Judge was a little perturbed. One said that he had spoken with a lawyer from Legal Aid the day before but that lawyer was not present in court today. The other wanted to waive his right to a lawyer. The latter’s family member had brought a packet of papers which he gave to the federal officer who in turn gave it to the respondent. The packet contained documents which were eventually given to the judge Their hearings also were continued.

I had to leave before the respondent related to the two African young men’s case was called.

Submitted: Jim Hoffman OFM


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