Tacoma Superior Court Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck hosted our class in her courtroom last week, taking the time to answer a barrage of questions such as what she does when court is not in session (reads, researches the law and prepares for upcoming cases), whether she was a lawyer before becoming a judge (yes - for many years), and whether she bangs her gavel like you see on TV (never - people are actually very well behaved in courtrooms, she says).
Court reporters document every word said in court using a special
stenography, or "Steno," machine that uses combinations of keys to write phonetically, allowing them to record more than 225 words per minute. It was fascinating to watch and some of the students thought it looked like a coding language on the computer screen.
Everyone enjoyed sitting in the judge's chair. The books behind the desk are all reference books on Washington State laws that the judge consults regularly.
The class also had lots of questions for Jesse, an assistant district attorney, who talked about law school, different types of cases and how the district attorney's office decides which ones to prosecute, and the difference between prosecution and
We learned a lot about the judicial system and how it works right here, just blocks away from our school!