Saturday, July 16, 2011

US Summer 2011: Attending Court Hearing in Hayward,California!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Date: July 5, 2011
Location: Hayward,California

They said that when I am not attending a court hearing, I am traveling and having a good time! Always seems to be one or the other. But last July 5, 2011, I did both! I was able to attend a hearing while in traveling mode and mood, and enjoyed every minute of it!

My good buddy lawyer Atty.Jeanne Serrano has a hearing on a divorce case in Hayward,California. I tagged along to see the actual court proceedings in the States and thereafter she could bring me to San Jose, California ,my home for the next two days.

The Hayward Hall of Justice is an Alameda County Superior Court building, located in a complex of buildings which includes the Hayward Police Department and the Hayward jail. Across Amador Street is a building which houses various social service offices, including the General Assistance office for Hayward, California.

The building was built in 1975.It is the largest full-service courthouse in Alameda County, hearing criminal, civil, juvenile, family law, traffic and Proposition 36 drug court cases.

We arrived early and passed through the security line quite fast because I didn't have any metals around me. Seeing only courtrooms in the Philippines, I never even thought about the security entrance where there is metal detector just like what I see at the airports! Yes, visitors actually have to remove one's belt, shoes and take gadgets out like laptops,PDA and cellphones. Guess,the metal detectors are calibrated to be more sensitive than airports for security reasons.

Glad too that there is no dress code so I was allowed entry even though I was wearing very "casual" clothes. I guess the court is strict only to those wearing beachwear or provocative attire or offensive insignia. We went to one of the windows to file some paper work but was advised to file it with the Court Clerk. So we head up the elevator to the family law courtrooms in the fifth floor.

(one of those signages in the fifth level)

Upper level is designated as "quiet" room, no cellphones, but lots of couches (so plenty of space to sit or read a good book if you wish ).There is also free wifi so you can use your laptop while waiting to get into the courtroom. Well, we didn't wait long though.

Courtroom is big, nice, AC,carpeted seats with a section designated for lawyers and the other section for those others participating in the proceedings as plaintiff/petitioner, defendant/accused or visitors since court’s hearings are open to the public. That day,however, I believe I was the only one inside the courtroom who wasn't involved in a case in anyway.(huh, what does that say about me?hahaha).

The Court Clerk reminded everyone to refrain from making noise, talking to each other and any conduct which may disturb the hearings. Mobile phones, portable computers, personal digital assistants, cameras and any other audio, video or information processing or recording equipment are prohibited inside. Such devices must be switched off or put on to "silent" setting. Also when the Commissioner (Judge) begins the proceedings, no one is allowed to leave in groups during hearings; they must wait until a break is called or permission to leave granted. Out of respect for the Court too, it is strictly forbidden to eat, drink or read newspapers during hearings.

I'm impressed how the cases were dealt with so quickly.Of course, there were lawyers who also asked for hearing postponement (guess that's fairly common everywhere huh!),but we were done after a few minutes.

Client was happy. Atty. Jeanne was happy.And I was doubly elated at the experience and the food treat afterwards. I Hop!

(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011 in California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pemnsylvania, and Indiana)

1.Four Countries In One Day

2. Enjoying Cable Cars in San Francisco

3. Enjoying Union Square and Downtown San Francisco

4. Commuting Easy With Panoramic Views

5. Mad About Museum in Sacramento California

6.Museums Trekking in Sacramento,California

7. Catching Gold Fever In Coloma,California

8. Psyched With Mormon Battalion In Coloma,California

9. Eureka! Sacramento, California

10. Highway 49 Summer Adventures

11. At Home In Daly City, California

12. Fourth of July Double Beachy Celebration

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