Today I'm sharing the first entry in a new web series. Taking my inspiration not so much from the classic Benjamin Britten orchestral work and more from the one I actually heard first, Garrison Keilor's parody, I offer: The Young Person's Guide to Centre County Criminal Court. Each entry will explain the rules, procedures, and quirks of a typical criminal case in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas from the initial charge through trial, appeal, and post-conviction relief.
Part One - Initial Charges
Part Two through ? - Coming Soon!
I think these pieces will be generally useful as an overview of the Criminal Justice System for anyone in Pennsylvania, but my focus is on Centre County in particular. I am aiming at a lay audience, but I hope my fellow practitioners will find it helpful as well. In particularly the younger, less experienced attorneys. I also hope the more... let's call them "seasoned" attorneys will chime in with suggestions and corrections.
Throughout this series, in addition to the nuts and bolts of shepherding* a case through The System, I'll also be offering insight into the types of cases likely to come up in Centre County.
I believe, as Thomas Jefferson did, that an informed citizenry are the bulwark of a strong democracy, and indeed are the only defense against tyranny that has ever worked. For many, the Criminal Justice System is at best a black box. Understanding how it works might help you avoid involvement in it in the first place, or at least make your experience less confusing.
As always, usual disclaimers apply. None of this is to be taken as legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice on your individual situation. Know your rights.
*Lawyer joke; pun intended.