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Hillsborough County Jail Pre-sentencing, Florida

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Pre-sentencing

Interview with Aaron, Jessica, Walter, Margaret and Sherry

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Aaron: I was brought to the jail and I spent three hours being processed (waiting around) in the initial processing area. I was put into one part of the jail for one day and was then transferred to the trustee pod the next morning. That day I went before the judge and was told that I would be held without bail because I was on hold for Pinellas County jail for violating the terms of my probation.
Jessica: I was arrested by police for DUI and brought to the jail.
Walter: I spoke with my public defender 2 or 3 times from July 2012 when I caught my charges to sentencing on October 1 2012. I went to court one time in September and was offered 6 months county time, pled not guilty and was set off for a month till Oct 1 2012 when I pled out.
Margaret: I WAS SEEN IN FIRST APPEARANCE THAT MORNING, AS I WAS BOOKED THAT NIGHT, IT WAS A MISDEMEANOR CHARGE. TJEY GO BY ALPHABETICAL ORDER SO I WAS NOT IN COURT THAT LONG. I WAS SENTENCED THE SAME DAY AND LED BACK TO THE HOLDING CELL TO RETURN BACK TO JAIL.
Sherry: Depending on what you are arrested for, my process was to go to first appearance court with Judge Henry Heindrick, once he told me if I had a bond or not, then I had to sign a form to request a Public Defender. I had to get a court date.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Aaron: No, I was arrested at the SweetBay food center in Tampa,FL and was driven to Hillsborough Jail (a.k.a. Orient Road Jail).
Jessica: Everything was processes at the jail.
Walter: No. I was involved in an altercation with my fiance while we were drunk, and was charged with misdemeanor battery. The night of my offense I was not arrested. I was sent to the hospital with a concussion and alchol poisoing. Later I was informed through my fiance that she had recieved mail about an upcoming court case.
Margaret: THE POLICE FOLLOWED ME TO MY HOUSE AFTER THEY WERE GIVEN MY DESCRIPTION. THEY DIDN'T EVEN ASK ME ANY QUESTIONS, THEY JUST IMMEDIATELY PUT ME IN HANDCUFFS. THEY WERE NICE ENOUGH TO LET ME CALL MY FATHER IN LAW TO LET HIM KNOW THOUGH, TO TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS.
Sherry: The first time back in 2007-2008, I had a warrant for my arrest, they came to my place of employment, I was not there, then it took a while for the police to find my place of residence, when they did they came there and thats where I was arrested.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Aaron: I waited in a holding area for a few hours with 35+ other inmates and was eventually escorted to the court and was coached by two members of the public defense counsel as to what to say and what not to say to the judge. Everyone was dressed up in orange outfits and the spanish speaking inmates went first before the judge and the ladies went next. My last name begins with a "W" so I went next to last. I was offered thirty days and I did not take the deal because of the advice I was given by the public defender which was "don't take any deals or you will be given an adjudication of guilt." From the time I entered the courtroom to the time I was escorted out lasted two hours. On the other hand, from the time I went in front of the judge to the time I was excused lasted only thirty seconds.
Jessica: I was put in handcuffs, a chain around my belly, and leg irons, and brought to court. I was in a holding cell for a while, before being brought to the courtroom. A number of us prisoners sat there for a while, but my actual time in front of the judge was about 30 seconds.
Walter: Court was swift, the judge moving quickly from one case to another. It was an outwardly relaxed atmosphere with palpable nervousness underneath. The bailiffs in Hillsborough County are surprisingly gentle. When I went to court I was unusually calm for the situation because I knew in advance I was going to jail.
Margaret: COURT WAS LONG AT FIRST, UNTIL THEY STARTED CALLING OUR NAMES. MY LAST NAME IS IN THE D'S SO IT WASN'T THAT LONG. IT'S CROWDED, AND A LITTLE EMBARRASING BECAUSE I WAS IN AN ORANGE UNIFORM, AND EVERYBODY WAS STARING AT ME. IWAS ALSO A LITTLE BIT SCARED, BUT OKAY.
Sherry: Well, it was nerve recking, you dont know what to expect, especially when you haven't talked with you PB, but you are handed cuffed and ankelshalkled when entering the court room, its embarassing like you are some kind of mass murderer, you sit and wait for your PB and judge.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Walter: Domestic Violence, Battery, Resistence w/o violence and disorderly intoxication. All of the above
Margaret: DISORDERLY CONDUCT, AND I WAS CHARGED WITH DISORDERLY CONDUCT
Sherry: Grand Theft, Burglary of and Unoccupied dwelling.

Read about sentencing in the Hillsborough County Jail

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