What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas…

… but it may also require a return trip so you can deal with your criminal court case. Alternatively, it stays in Vegas but gets you banned from the Strip and/or means that when you return to Vegas, there’s an arrest warrant out for you, and you end up spending time not in your cool hotel, but instead in jail.

For any readers who don’t already know, I’m interning in Las Vegas this summer. It’s a pretty cool gig, in that the people here are cool, the cases are interesting, and I already have my Student Practice Certification, so I’ll be able to speak in court. And not get kicked out after I say things. So, this was my first week, and Monday was a holiday, which means that it was a short week. Still, it’s Vegas, and it did not disappoint.

Tuesday’s excitement involved excrement in the courthouse. Yep, somebody pooped on the floor of the building. It wasn’t in an actual courtroom (that would’ve made for an interesting transcript). It was in the first floor lobby, right in front of the elevators. Meaning that some poor unlucky marshal (which is what the courtroom security/police are called) was tasked with standing at the elevator bay directing people to use the escalators/stairs to go up a floor, and then get on the elevator. This is a 17 story building, and people don’t listen well, so many people were upset with that. I didn’t see or smell anything, but I was informed that it was the consistency and color of a green smoothie/slushy. And also that at least one person stepped in it. (Not one of my coworkers, though, fortunately).

Wednesday was the first day that we observed in court, and we got to see a no-nonsense judge deal pretty efficiently with a massive amount of defendants. We also got to see someone get remanded into the State’s custody. In not-lawyer terms, that means he got handcuffed and arrested in court. Fun fact: It’s a bad idea to lie to the court. It’s a very bad idea to lie to the court in response to the question “Have you been able to stay out of trouble?” when “stay out of trouble” is one of the terms that you need to meet to stay on probation. It’s an especially bad idea to answer “yeah I stayed out of trouble” when you in fact were arrested for, and pled guilty to a felony. Additional fun fact: Prosecutors can get records of your arrests/convictions in between court dates, and if you lie about a felony, they will bring that point up to the judge. “Your Honor, unfortunately I must disagree that the Mr. XXX stayed out of trouble…”

On Thursday, I learned that the life of a prosecutor can sometimes mean that you’re in court from 8 am – 2 pm. Without a lunch break, because when the court recesses, you have witnesses/victims/defense attorneys to talk to. I also learned that it’s really helpful to speak Spanish, and that witnesses get money for showing up in court, even if they don’t have to testify. I got to watch a misdemeanor trial, and I learned that when a woman pleads to “trespass” she probably is actually a prostitute. I got to see un-prepared defense attorneys and extremely aggressive defense attorneys. I saw a witness/victim cry on the stand, and heard a defendant’s angry outburst. I also saw first hand that witnesses and victims aren’t always particularly helpful, and learned that it is in fact possible to walk and (possibly?) run after being shot in the penis.

On Friday, I sat in on a portion of a murder trial, and learned that even when you have a badge that says “INTERN” in big letters, the marshal will still come ask if you’re a witness in the case in order to comply with the Exclusionary Rule. (I was also briefly confused, before I remembered that there are multiple exclusionary rules.) I also learned that if you ask around enough, you’ll end up with plenty of work, that paper can get REALLY heavy really fast (I already knew that from those textbooks…) and that the appellate team has a really good time.

This afternoon, I went to a picnic/barbecue at a park, hosted by the office, and met some more attorneys and chatted with some of the other interns. I was going to go out for one of the intern’s birthdays tonight, but my stomach is kind of upset, so I decided to take it easy tonight. No promises, but the goal is to post at least once a week, with a recap of my week. I’ve also got a bunch of pictures (both of home and of NYC) that I haven’t shared yet, so I’ll try to do that. And it’s been ages since I last posted, so I’ll try to get something up about the end of 2L. And I’ll try to take pictures here…

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