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Lingling Xu

HM 203
Courtroom observation assignment
On September 5, I attended the court located in downtown Harrisonburg, called
Rockingham/Harrisonburg General District Court. This court is an entry level court, because of
the name of the court and almost all cases are started at entry level. In addition, this case hasnt
finalized yet.
In the courtroom, I saw the judge sat behind a raised desk, which is in the middle of the
front court and the right side of desk is where the court case reporter and clerk sit. Behind the
judge, there are the flags of America and Virginia State. The judges wear a plain black robe and
lawyers are wearing appropriate suit. There are sits for lawyer and police, and behind those sits
are where I was sitting. The case I am about to say is this defendant named Jonathan Ray Price
II. He is being charged with failure to obey a highway sign, driving with his drivers license
suspended or revoked and driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated. I saw him wearing jail
clothes and came out of the door at courtroom. He walked in front of the judges desk with his
handcuffs and shackles followed by a policeman. His lawyer already waiting in front of the
judge. After that the judge started a conversation with the defendant and his lawyer.
First, I believed the defendant was interfering with emergency services by phone under
the Statutes failing to obey a highway sign, then the police found out his license was
suspended or revoked. Since there is a class: 1under the criminal case details online, I am sure
this defendant had his license suspended or revoked because the statute listed class 1 means his
driver's license has been suspended or revoked. In other words, he was not supposed to drive a

vehicle. He not only has these two traffic charges, he also facing a criminal charge with DWI
which he is driving under drugs or alcohol influence. Since this is his first offense on DWI
charge, so this criminal case type is Misdemeanor. I know he is not suppose in the jail because
of these criminal charges. However, He also faces civil case, which charged with malicious
wounding and attempted rape. The civil case type he is facing is Felony because it is more
serious than the criminal case. The defendant is physically within the state in which the lawsuit is
filed, so the Summons is served on this defendant. In the court, I can clearly heard the Judge call
Jonathan Ray Price II the Defendant. On the website under this case detail you will see the party
filing charges written as Complainant. So it is quite certain that I am hearing criminal case that
day.
The interesting thing I experienced in the courtroom was when I arrived there at exactly 1
pm. The clerk said all rise, then everybody in the court all stood up, and when the judge sat
down we might sit. The other unique thing I saw in the courtroom is I saw another male criminal
come out waved to a woman sitting in front of me, so I am guessing the woman probably is his
mother.
After I had the experience in the courtroom, I thought I wouldnt want to be anyone in
there for any charges, not even the traffic court. I can feel how awful to be a defendant in the
court, and I have more understanding on how the court system was going. If one day I accidently
become a defendant, I think I know what I will face in the court and be more prepare for that.