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Interview with DC, Keith, Joe, Heidi, Dillon, Linda, Gregg, Matthew, Damon, David, Shelley, Justin, Steve, Jack, Rachel, Conrad, John and Ted

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Keith: "GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT". The Judges, the DA's and the court appointed attorneys all work for "Tarrant County". You don't get to meet your "court appointed" attorney until your first court appearance, usually three two to four weeks. You will also get your first plea bargaining offer then. If you do not accepy it, get ready for set offs. They make it a habit to leave you in their jail until you accept something. After being there for one to two YEARS they will offer time served to avoid trialsand get Tim Curry a conviction. The only way to get a court appointed attorney to do anything is to do the legal work yourself in the jail law library. Even then the court appointed attorney has to set it for a hearing and usually won't. The only way to get a court appointed attorney to do his job is to FILE A STATE BAR GREIVANCE.
Joe: i dont know much about that,parole violations dont have to mess with all that!
Heidi: don't remember much
Dillon: I saw a judge by video who told me what I was there for. No lawyer no court date set. Just sitting in limbo.
Linda: They take you in a cramped room with up to 6 other women ( they keep you seperated from the men) and your attorney comes in and talks to you. Usually trying to have you take the worst offer without a fight.
Gregg: this jail is so big that it took i believe 3 weeks to even see the judge for presentencing and we were all brought in a courtroom at the jail and we were all called one by one to the judge for presentencing and find out what our time served is.
Matthew: I saw the judge and she told me the length/details of my sentence. No one would tell me a date and I just waited around until they got to me. The only thing I was told was that I wouldn't see a judge for at least another 5 days because the judge was on vacation.
Damon: I was at the Mansfield facility for about five to six days to wait to go to Tarrant County. The floors were so filthy it was unbelievable. I had to sleep on a dirty floor. They would not let me take a shower Or brush my teeth or any soap to wash my hands. When I went to the Tarrant County jail facility I was automatically put in as a trustee because of my previous good behavior.
David: Before moving over to Green Bay, I was in Tarrant County Jail for two days. I was serving the rest of my probation from my DWI. I was transferred by a van with several other guys. It felt like it was a long smelly trip that took forever. The arrival was scary.
Shelley: No pre-sentencing. Probation violation on a DWI charge.
Justin: The procedure in Tarrant County depends on the plea. If one pleads not guilty and is later found guilty at a bench or jury trial, or if he pleads guilty in what is known as an "open plea" -- a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) is conducted by the Tarrant County Community Supervision Department (who also supervise probationers throughout the county). The PSI includes a victim impact statement, if any exists, as well as information regarding the offender's education level, work history, criminal history, and the facts concerning the instant offense for which he/she was found guilty. The judge or jury -- depending on which of the two the defendant chose to issue the sentence -- then considers all the information presented in court and in the PSI to determine the sentence to be given.
Steve: It's pretty much the "waiting game" unless you are bonded out. An inmate may sit in a holding cell for an hour to 16 hours waiting on arraignment. After arraignment you will be transported to city jail where you will wait to be transported to county jail. Then you will sit in another holding cell for hours waiting on your turn to see the judge.
Jack: I had to show up for court five times and wait in the court room for hours. Finally got to see the judge and it was over in four minutes. Talk about wasting everybody time.
Rachel: I was ordered bond probation and was required to take random u/a's. The woman who tested the females would call the p.o. that I was assigned to to let her know if i passed or failed. Sometimes they would swab my mouth and test my urine. If she thought my sample was diluted she would make me wait hours sometimes before she would take another sample. Once i was in tears waiting to give another sample and asked her to call my. P.o. and when she finally did they both told me to quit crying and if i went to the restroom before i gave a sample i would be revoked and have to sit in jail until my court date. I eventually gave a dirty u/a and i went to my bond revocation hearing and had to go to tarrant county belknap facilty for 3 weeks before i was sentenced.
Conrad: it was slow and dreadful d how me and a whole thing with about 5 other guys one which was extremely drunk and I read that once you enter the jail things get much worse W but not worth than the 2 sandwiches at intake with hard bread and moldy meat
John: Pre sentencing was pretty easy, I knew I was guilty, so it was just a matter of a couple of court date to work out what kind of deal was best for me at the time. The judge in my courtroom was more than fair after I eventually violated my probation.
Ted: I was arraingned a few hours after I arrived. I was arraingned in a room with other men and the judge was on a computer screen. We did not go to a court room or get arraingned in person. I was informed of my charge and that i xxx ould have a court appoinred lawyer

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
DC: No
Keith: No. And the only reason they would ask you questions is so you will incriminate yourself. It's best to refer them to your attorney.
Joe: oh yea, many times,no questions! just busted!
Heidi: no
Dillon: The came to the house to arrest me.
Linda: yes
Gregg: yes the police came by my apartment and told me i had a warrant out for my arrest and put me in handcuffs with no explanation and put me in the back of the police car and hauled me on off to the jail which was a long ride coming from dallas.
Matthew: no. I was pulled over for a traffic violation and when my license was run, it showed that I had a warrant for a $19 bad check. The warrant was the cause of my arrest. I was with a friend and they had to drive my car home and call my wife.
Damon: The police did not come to my house. What happen was, I was shoplifting in Walmart. I went to the self check out and what I was doing is I was scanning one item and having another or two items behind it. There was a camera directly above me and the security was watching me. I had a total of 23 items in my cart and I only paid for 12. When I walked out of the store a Walmart employee and a police officer came up behind me and demanded to see a receipt for everything in the cart. Then they found out I didn't pay for everything charge me with theft. The police officer call my name in and found out I had priors. My charge was automatically enhance to a felony charge because of two other priors.
David: No police stopped by my house for any type of questioning. I got pulled over and charged with a DWI but got off with just probation. Inside my car I had a breathalyzer, that I had to blow into each time, well after I blew positive so many times my probation officer booked me in.
Shelley: Had to report to court for probation violation.
Justin: After a long argument over the spare keys to my brand-new Kia, my girlfriend refused tom return them to me. I then told her I was going to call police and have them determine who was entitled to the keys (the car is exclusively in my name). Realizing she was going to lose this argument, she phoned police before I could get my cell phone to power up and told them that I had hit her repeatedly and wouldn't stop. Though these was not as much as a scratch or mark of any kind on her body, police pulled me out of the bed that she and I shared and took me to jail, charged with assault-family violence.
Steve: I was pulled over due to my inspection sticker being outdated. That's when I discovered there was a warrant for my arrest and I was taken into custody at that time. The officer was surprisingly down to earth. He and his partner allowed my vehicle to be picked up by a relative which saved me hundreds of dollars.
Jack: Within the four minutes that I got with the judge I chose to turn myself in that day. You're arrested right away.
Rachel: I was leaving my mothers house after taking her groceries. When i was leaving i noticed a car that was following me with no headlights. I began to drive around the neighborhood of blue mound and had my husband on speaker phone. I came to a stop sign and i noticed the car suddenly stop and a cop car came up fast. The officer got out yelling at me and told me to get out of the car. The whole time had his weapon aimed at my face. He kept asking for my insurance and i began to have an anxiety attack. I had my husband on speaker still in the car. I finally yelled in the car and told my husband to bring my insurance card. The officer yelled and asked who i was talking to. I told him my husband had been listening the whole time. He then pushed me up against the car and cuffed me. He put me in the back of his car and then began to search my car. He came back with a bag that had meth in it and asked me if it was mine. I replied no and he took me to the blue mound jail. He never told me what i was pulled over for. I didnt know until i was arraigned at midnight the next day
Conrad: Me and my brother got into an argument at the time we were both teens and it was very common this day the argument escalates an we got into a fifgr and the neighbors called the police and once they got there they seen a little scratch on his eye and detained me
John: I was initially stopped for a DWI, and arrested after refusing to perform the field sobriety test. After a while, I fell behind on my court costs and the Judge issued a blue warrant for my arrest, and a deputy did come and arrest me at work. Almost a year into probation, I wanted to get revoked and just sit my time out, so my CSO arranged for me to be arrested at the Community Supervision Office in downtown Fort Worth.
Ted: No, i was not aware of the charges because they were out of houston. A neighbor and i shared a storage shed that was at our duplex and she cakked police stating i took her tire. Once the cops arrived they arrested me for theft of property and i found out i had warrant in houston 2106 210e 2123

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
DC: I went to court 2 days after I was arrested. I had a judge that did NOT play. No talking, no gum, dress nice, and no backtalk.
Keith: Manipulated. The Judges, the DA's and court appointed attorneys are AGAINST you and work for "TARRANT COUNTY". They try to heard as many people through court as possible. There own websites show over 11,000 cases a month. That's 20 working days. 550 a day.
Joe: n/a parole.
Heidi: very scary
Dillon: As above by video. No information of any use provided.
Linda: You dont get to go to court unless you are getting probation or going home. So I plead guilty and went before the judge adn did as my attorney said.
Gregg: Court is a very long a boring process as you have to wait until its your turn to be seen by the judge to get your sentencing and tell him how you plea. There were so many people it literally took hours to see the judge for myself to see what my sentencing was.
Matthew: Court was short and there wasn't any 'trial' for what I had done, they pretty much just told me the details of the sentencing. That is all, it was pretty much uneventful. I did not have a lawyer at that time, I didn't get one until later and she worked things out.
Damon: I was very happy on how the court handled my case. They gave me a court appointed attorney because I could not afford one for myself. The judge, attorney, and the DA negotiated on my case and I ended up getting a year of time. I was happy with how the courts handle my case because they handle it according to the law
David: Court was a long boring process. I remember it being extremely intensive especially when I had to go in front of the judge. I remember the guy next to me crying and my public defender telling me to remain calm and plead guilty in hopes of getting a lighter sentence so I did.
Shelley: No issues with the court. Cut and dry.
Justin: I was originally taken to "court" during the first week after my arrest, to complete an interview concerning my ability to pay for an attorney. I was denied an attorney because of the amount of money I earned the previous year. I was taken to another such interview two weeks later, when, because of my no-income status while sitting in jail, I was approved for and appointed an attorney. I went to a third "court" appearance, where I met my lawyer who visited me in the court's holding cell outside the courtroom. My lawyer notified me of the State's initial plea offer of 30 years, to which I vehemently declined. I never actually stepped into any courtroom and never saw the judge in over three months of being in jail.
Steve: Court was impersonal. I spoke with my public defender moments before we entered the court room so I was already aware of my sentence. The judge brings inmates in 4 or so inmates at a time. There's paper work to sign and then it's back to the holding cell I went. Spectators and gossipers filled the courtroom.
Jack: Expensive, a waste of everyone's time. You have to be there early in the morning and wait on the court staff to get ready (that's when they feel like it) and that's just to open the door. Then you go in to the court room to wait some more. About 1 to 2 hours later the judge comes out and does roll call, people who are not there get an immediate warrant for their arrested. After that you wait for your name to be called.
Rachel: My judge was Sheran wilson so it was very tense. She was the type to ask a lot of questions with the intention of making a person look ignorant. She was very aggressive and showed no one any compassion. She put me in jail on my first court appearance for coming in during role call. My name starts with an A so i was one of the first called. I had trouble parking so i was a few minutes late and had to serve one night for disrespecting her
Conrad: It was a long and slow process but I did get to see my family. You. Are not allowed to speak with em but it's better than nothing. You are held in a backroom with the rest of the inmate's until your name I called but its not all bad
John: The worst part about the first court dates was finding a place to park. It's a busy area in the mornings. But the District Attorney and my Defense Attorney worked together quickly and on my second court date I had signed for 2 years on community supervision. After violating and being arrested again, going to court was a drug. Shortly after breakfast on the day of court, me and all of the others were marched to the holding cells behind our respective court rooms. As always, the inmates were the last to be brought before the judge. It was crowded and hot in the holding cell, and the benches are not the most comfortable. It took forever before they started taking us back to the jail.
Ted: I did not get charged for the theft of property they couldnt charge me because they had no evidence of a tire so i never went to court but tarrant county could not release me for 10 days because houston had a hold on me and did not want me rekeased

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Gregg: my original charges was felonly crimal mischief.
Matthew: Check Fraud - I wrote a bad check for $19 several years ago to an electric company and they decided to press charges. I had no prior history or check fraud and nor did I do any check fraud going forward.
Damon: My original charge was a class C misdemeanor theft under $50. Then because of my priors my charge was enhanced to theft under 1500 with two priors- state jail felony.
David: DWI were the original, and ended up being convicted of
Shelley: DWI.
Justin: I was originally charged by complaint with assault-family violence. On or about my 82nd day in jail, a grand jury returned a no-bill, deciding there was insufficient evidence to return formal charges visa indictment. All charges were dismissed a week later.
Steve: My original charge was criminal mischief 50-500 and so was my conviction.
Jack: I was convicted of dwi
Rachel: Possesion of a controlled substance under one gram namely meth amphetaminr
Conrad: assault with bodily injury on a family member
John: I was charged with Misdemeanor DWI #2, a class B offense with punishment ranging from 15 to 365 days in jail. I pleaded guilty and was subsequently convicted of the same charge
Ted: Theft of property and theft by check. I was never convicted. Charges were dropped

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