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St Charles County Jail Pre-sentencing, Missouri

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Pre-sentencing

Interview with Randy, Will and Cynthia

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Randy: Went to court for my DWI with my lawyer. Judge Cundiff accepted a plea bargain that included some shock time to be done within a month.
Will: My initial meetng with a judge was conducted via live feed television in an apparent courtroom facility inside the actual jail. There was a raised dais and bench for a judge, and several rows of pew type seating for others. A televison with a camera, microphone and speakers mounted on it was set on a tall rollable cart at the end of one of the seating rows and the inmates were alowed to approach it one at a time to speak with the judge. This was the "arraignment" phase of my coutroom proceedings. I never met with a lawyer, and was told I did not qualify for one to be appointed. I only went to an actual courtroom once after that prior to Sentencing, and that was only to enter my plea before the judge and to speak briefly with the prosecuting attorney assigned to my case.
Cynthia: All in total I waited 2 months to be sentenced.There were 3 court dates before my last one.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Randy: No.
Will: I was arrested at my home in Elkhart, Indidna by local police who were executing a warrant issued by Saint Charles County for Criminal Non-Support (i.e. failure to pay child support). I was housed in Elkhart County for about two weeks before being transported cross-country by an inmate transport company based out of Mississippi to Saint Charles County Jail.
Cynthia: No I was arrested immediately after committing the crime and was brought to jail where I stayed until I got sentenced.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Randy: Talked with my lawyer then eventually saw the judge and talked to him at the bench. There were lots of people in there for traffic crimes mostly DWI. I signed paperwork then went and paid my court costs. In total I was in and out in less than an hour.
Will: It was brief every time I went. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and unprepared. No one took it upon themselves to explain to me more than the basic fact of what was happening to me. I was never told the "big picture," only what was happening now, and even that was only cursory at best. The whole expereince felt like it was something that was "happening" to me, not like a process that I actually had a voice or an active role in. I was playing only a minor part, a walk on role at best, and my only lines were spoken in haste and with the feeling that they did not really matter. On one of my appearances I was one of only three inmates brought into the courtroom, and there were no other civillians present, only the Judge, a Baliff, a court reporter, the prosecuting attorney, a few public defenders and a Sherrif's Deputy. The rest of the courtroom was as empty as a church on Tuesday.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Will: I was charged with Criminal Non-Support and ended up being convicted of the same. It is a Class D felony in Missouri.

Read about sentencing in the St Charles County Jail

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