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Brittany Dillon BLAW 3201 For this assignment, I went to the Baton Rouge City Court room downtown

on November 17,2011. It was on the third floor in DWI and Criminal Court Room 321 with Judge Laura P. Davis. I sat in and observed a criminal misdemeanor case involving simple battery. I first walked into the court room as the officer who, came to the defendants house after getting a call from a concerned high school student who lived across the street, was sitting at the podium answering the plaintiffs lawyers questions. He was the first witness called to the stand and as the prosecution questioned him he said from what he gathered Mrs. Heather Smith had the intent to take the mail and when the mail carrier refused she took it forcefully creating physical contact. It was on this basis that he made the arrest against Heather Smith for Simple Battery. The officer also noted, When I saw the mail carrier she was extremely upset and told me she had numerous problems in the past too. Heather then cross-examined the office but kept receiving objections being told that you cant testify yourself you can only ask the witness questions. She then had no further questions and the next witness was called to the stand. Marian Ladin began by telling the court how she had been employed with the postal service for 15 years as a mail carried and had never had a problem. The prosecution began to ask her about the events on October 23, 2010. She told the court how she had been delivering mail to Pollard Estates for a while and because of previous aggressive actions she was told not to deliver to the Smiths residence if they were outside. She said this was done for her own safety because on numerous occasions Heather Smith and her father would call her a black whore among other racist comments. On October 23, 2010 she described to the court how she delivered the neighbors mail and walked around in the street to skip over the Smiths house and headed towards the neighbors to continue on her mail route. She said that the father asked if she had mail and she ignored him as she always has in the past. This is when he proceeded to scream You black bitch I will report you Monday! This is when Mrs. Ladin tried to put an end to it but saying this has to stop, but Mr. Smith spit in her face and Heather ran from under the carport like a linebacker and took mail. As a result, she was scared and panicked and called the police. She proceeded on about how much she likes Pollard Estates and having her route there but told more stories about being stalked by Heather taking pictures or taunted and teased by Heathers father. She also demonstrate the physical contact and how she had to catch herself as she was in disbelief. Finally, the last detail Ms. Ladin gave was that this event elevated her blood pressure for 2 weeks putting her out of work. Heather Smith had no questions for this witness. Sara Murphy, the next witness, was a young girl actually in her St. Josephs uniform, who was called to testify after admitting to witnessing the event through her kitchen window. Sara told the Court that she looked out of the window after she heard the yelling from the commotion outside, which was when she saw Heather reach for the bag aggressively towards the mail carrier. According to Sara, she doesnt personally know Ms. Ladin but has never had a problem with her before. Sara also was asked to point out Heather Smith, who she pointed to from the stand.

Although she wasnt sure, Sara also was almost positive Ms. Ladin was the mail woman she saw. Heather began to examine the witness but tried to ask her numerous questions at once about how she could possibly see the events that took place but once again was objected and told she can only ask one question at a time and has to let the witness answer. She asked How can you see out of frosted glass? to which Sara replied The glass isnt frosted. Heather questions continued to get answers similar to this before she said she had no more questions. After that, Heathers mom, Rebecca, came to the stand. Heathers self representative again seemed to be insufficient because all of her questions were objected to and she was told to stop leading the witness. She asked her mom to explain what happened. From the moms perspective, she said they simply asked the mail carrier if they had mail for her and Ms. Ladin began screaming and yelling at them for no reason. Rebecca Smith also claimed that the mail carrier called her a liar. The defendant and prosecution both had no further questions for this witness. Finally, Heather took the stand herself and was told by the Judge to giver her version of the events of October 23, 2010. She said she was outside doing stuff with her parents when her mom asked Ms. Ladin for their mail and was ignored. Heather claims she stated, So you arent going to give us our mail and testified that this is when Ms. Ladin started yelling and calling them liars and denied tackling her. Instead, Heather says that she reached for the mail and did not forcefully take it. The prosecution questioned Heather pretty hard about having problems with Ms. Ladin before and the tension between them. Heather continued to deny that anyone yelled, spit, or had any physical contact with Ms. Ladin. Being persistent, she also continued to insist that it would be impossible for Sara Murphy to have seen anything. After the testimonies, Heather asked to introduce evidence, and the Judge replied that she needed to show the prosecution to make sure they dont have any objections. The lawyer argued that it lacked authenticity because the letters were form people who witnessed the events on the day of the incident but the lawyer objected that these were only here say. The judge agreed that the witnesses would need to be in court to testify or have the information in affidavit form in order to be admissible. In summary, the lawyer reviewed his points about Smith initially admitting to contact in her statement but then retracting her comment, and his points involving how much Ms. Ladin loves her routed and was scared, and finally how Sara testified the witnessing the event the way Ms. Ladin described it happening as well. He argued that she was doing her job and what she was told by skipping over their house when the family was outside. He described that it was battery when Heather grabbed the mail and also when she shoved Ms. Ladin and asked the court to find her guilty of battery. In conclusion, the Judge started by acknowledging the rarity of the case and of a mail carrier skipping only one house on a route; however she said her job was to decide based on the credibility of the witnesses who she doesnt see as having anything to gain by testifying. She started with the mail carrier, Ms. Ladins, credibility because she had been doing this for 15 years and never had a problem before. It was Sara Murphy who she said was the most credible because she had

nothing to gain and maybe something to lose since she still had to be Heather Smiths neighbor. In the judges opinion, if Sara saw something bad enough to call the police then something must have happened. The Judge stated that she believed anger and tension was definitely present and found Heather Smith guilty of battery. She was sentenced to anger management classes and has to come back for sentencing in May.