Friday, March 17, 2006

Meeting Room vs Courtroom

It was bound to happen. Town meetings take place in the same room that's used for town court. I've been wondering what happens when someone is arrested and has ato be indicted during a town meeting. Last night Judge Claussen came into the Planning Board meeting and announced that he needed the room. With him was a man in a business suit and handcuffs, looking like a deer in the headlights, and two other men, one of them presumably a police officer, though there was no uniform.

Our meeting included five Planning Board members, the Environmental Planner and me. I've wondered what would happen if the Town Board meeting were interrupted with five Board members, five or six staff members and usually a dozen or more members of the public and a reporter or two. The Judge said the indictment would only take about fifteen minutes. We could have taken a break and returned to our meeting. But we were on the last agenda item, cluster development, which will be carrying over to next month anyway. So we took the opportunity to adjourn. We are, if not a one-horse town, at least a one meeting-room town. We're breaking ground on the new Town Hall not a moment too soon.


Blogger Albany Lawyer said...

Many town courts in smaller towns are similar. The bigger towns have their own court rooms. In the biggest town in our area, Colonie Town Court actually has two court rooms.

What's also interesting is that an awful lot of town courts are in the same building as the police department. And the town police generally guard the courtroom and the judge. Makes you wonder if the defendant really gets a fair shake when push comes to shove.

2:48 AM, March 19, 2006  
Blogger Albany Lawyer said...

After reading your post and commenting, it actually occurred to me to add Dryden Town Court to our directory of town courts. It's a slow process but we're getting there.

3:00 AM, March 19, 2006  

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