ExternshipsStudent ContributorSummer Opportunities

John Paul Aponte ’16 @ Montgomery County Circuit Court

Working at Montgomery County Circuit Court with Judge Boynton has been a very interesting experience, as I have learned a great deal about circuit courts and the role that judges and law clerks play in these courts. Being able to help the Judge and his clerk with an upcoming high-profile case was very interesting and I was happy to be of help to the both of them. While I was only here for four days, I still was able to learn a lot about not only the courts, but all the different jobs people have that are needed for the courts to run properly. I thought it was interesting that there are such specific jobs needed for the trials to function smoothly.

While the cases that come in are, for the most part, quite sad, the issues at hand in these cases need to be dealt with. As the Judge was working in the family court this week, most of the cases focused on domestic violence. While these cases weren’t particularly fun to hear about, it was good that the Judge was able to help these people that needed help. I found it interesting how the Judges rotate what kind of cases they’ll take every so often, as it seems like it would keep them unbiased as possible since they likely wouldn’t get fatigued as often since it keeps them from hearing the same kind of cases over and over again for a long period of time.

The interactions between attorneys and the Judge was also pretty interesting, in particular the difference between how the attorneys and Judges act in trials with a jury and trials without one. The jury selection process was also interesting for the one trial I observed that had a jury. Having the Judge question the potential jurors and then seeing if they could possibly have any kind of bias was interesting. Having never seen a jury selection or served on a jury myself, I found it interesting that the potential jurors were basically waiting on-call in the building for any trials taking place that may need them.

I learned a great deal about the legal system first hand and got to see what it looks like in reality, as opposed to representations like the ones shown on television or in the media. In addition to this, I was able to see what lawyers and judges work on when not working in a trial. Much of this non-trial time seemed to be focused on preparing for other cases and reviewing laws/statutes. I only wish the experience could have lasted longer than a week, especially so I could see how the big case I’ve been helping with plays out and what the eventual result of the case will be.