Observation from Karen Friedman

Observation form Court ROom 1, October 15th, 2010
I find myself thinking the court is doing an acceptable job of dealing with these cases (for the most part) and as much as I can tell by dropping in and out of the case presentations. The real problems in detention probably exist in the detention process and facilities. How is that dealt with by this your organization?

Case in point: Last Friday a woman detainee was presented via video to Judge Cuentes. She was about in her 50s, had been detained as an illegal while riding in a car with someone else. It was not known if there was a traffic violation involved. She has been detained in the McHenry detention center (jail?) for six weeks. Apparently, this was her first bond hearing — I don’t know the facts of this case because, as I said, watchers drop in and out and details of each case are sketchy for us. This seemed to me an unreasonably long time for a person like this with no criminal record (except illegality — she is Guatemalan) — she did not appear to be a threat to any community. I would like to find out what happened in that case. UNFORTUNATELY, I did not get her name — her name came and went quickly in the discussion. The list of detainees had been removed from outside the courtroom door by the time I left.
However, if I had all the information, what would the follow-up be? Probably it is too late for this person but her situation is likely not uncommon — how does this kind of court watcher observation move through your organization’s system ?


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