By Madison Benosky
Mrs. Curran’s College Accounting class went to the Central Islip Courts on March 9, 2018, where the class learned about the different legal careers. The first stop on tour was to visit a fourth-floor courtroom where the court officer had the students go behind the bar and sit where the judge, court clerks, court officers, jury, plaintiffs, and defendants sit. The law clerks provide direct assistance and counsel to a judge in making legal decisions and they decide on a potential prisoner’s fate. One of the essential roles in the courtroom is the court reporter. Court reporters have to be able to type quickly, around 300 words a minute, and go to school for two or more years. All court reporters have their own “typed language.” One court reporter cannot read another court reporter’s notes.
After speaking to the court officer, he brought us downstairs to watch arraignments, which is where people are given their next court date and bail amount if they are not released on their own recognizance. We saw a variety of arraignments— from people who were charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) to people allegedly giving massages without licenses.
Most court officers do not have weapons because they don’t want the “prisoners” to be able to get them. These officers are specially trained to use the least amount of force possible. All officers are equipped with a baton and pepper spray which will only be used if needed.
The last stop on the tour was visiting the jail that the sheriffs’ control. The people in the jail were just arraigned and had to follow the yellow line and fill out paperwork before going into their holding cell.
Overall, the class enjoyed the trip and learned the complexity of the court system, and the many parts required to keep the judicial system running smoothly.