Broom 1 Karen Broom CRJ 110 C11 Rhonda Morehead March 9, 2012 Unit 3 – Courtroom Observation

I chose to attend a criminal proceeding at The Lindsay Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. I begrudgingly admit that I failed to plan this visit adequately and actually paid quite a price for the court hearing I ended up attending. I observed the People –v- Francesca Pagliasotti aka Frankie Pagliasotti. The case number was 10 CR 5430 regarding Felony charges of accessory to murder in the gruesome case of sixteen year old Alicia Martinez who was allegedly murdered and dismembered by “Frankie’s” boyfriend, Edward Timothy Romero, who awaits his trial in June of this year, and as of this time has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The judge was the Honorable Shelley Ilene Gilman of the Second Judicial District. Upon my arrival at the court on Friday the 9th, the last day to actually observe before the due date of this paper, I asked a deputy at the reception desk if there was a criminal proceeding in progress that I could observe for my college class. He told me to report to the fifth floor courtroom H. Upon entering, I observed the judge and prosecutor having a heated discussion about evidence that they wanted to admit to the court. The courtroom was full to capacity, another clue I should have paid attention to was the fact that a number of people in the courtroom were in suits and ties, obviously lawyers and reporters. Very quickly the judge ruled on her evidentiary question and asked if they were ready for the jurors. The defense attorney called his witness, Francesca, to the stand and proceeded to question her and she began to recall her version of the day leading up to the murder of the victim. Her defense attorney led her with questions but she seemed heavily coached and gave lengthy testimony before a new question began.

Broom 2 She recounted facts of her whereabouts, contact with the boyfriend, and events leading up to the moment when he told her he had done something bad and would tell her when she returned home. He called her to the garage and told her under no circumstance could she scream, and then he allegedly showed her the naked and bloody body of Alicia Martinez. The events continued into the next day and she recounted that she was forced to participate all day in the cover up of the murder. Neither the grandmother nor the girlfriend tried to get help from the police. She stated over and over again that she feared for her life because he had beaten her on many prior occasions in their ten year relationship. He made her get him trash bags and proceeded to the garage to “cut her up”. He came in later, again they had time to call for help and did not, and insisted she help him clean up in the shower and do his laundry, bloody from the crime. He then forced her to go to bed with him and sleep. The next day he forced her to “help” him further cut up the body and put it in a blender. The police came looking for the girl but apparently never searched the home or did much other than question who had seen her last. So many things struck me from this trial, I am honestly not sure I will ever forget it and I am certain this is not an area of law I could ever entertain the idea of practicing in any fashion. The defense attorney had coached his witness well, as I counted at least fifteen times in an hour that she stated she was afraid for her life and he led almost every question in that direction. The judge in the case was possibly crying as she wiped her nose many times with Kleenex. The jury, both male and female, cried as did most of the courtroom. The session was halted when a family member ran from the courtroom sobbing and the judge called for a break. At the time she ran from the room, the deputy jumped from his seated position and readied himself for what could have quickly become a problem. The emotion in the room was intense and I felt a fair amount of fear. I never heard anyone directly say that he was a gang member but something about the description of his activities and the amount of weapons he gave his mother before his arrest led me to believe that he was. The prosecuting attorney had his head in his hands for most of the testimony and I never saw him write a thing down.

Broom 3 She recounted testimony uninterrupted the whole time she was on the stand other than her attorney to lead her in a new direction with a question when she needed prompting. I disliked every part of sitting in this courtroom and honestly was so overwhelmed by testimony that I cannot tell you of too many things I didn’t like in the court. I did note that when she dismissed for the break that she apologized to the jury for keeping them in the juror room for the break because she wanted to get through this portion of testimony. She reminded them of their rules and dismissed them. The most memorable thing I noted was that the jury was taking notes as I was and I feel that they were paying close attention to the case. I am not sure that is a job that I could have been called on to do because in the hours of my sitting there the only thing I could think of was that I hoped she spent her lifetime in jail thinking about why she didn’t just turn him in and why she stood by with her young children in the house while their parents did this to a young girl. I did not believe her at all when she said he would kill her next and nothing she said made me think she showed remorse at all. Her tone was even throughout testimony, even while she cried. Her attorney even asked her once if she yelled at him and she said no. I agree that she seemed upset that he killed the girl, but she didn’t seem sorry for her part in it. The only part of the preceding today that I felt could and absolutely should have been different was a warning to the court attendees about the graphic nature of the trial. I don’t know if that is something that is done, but it should be on cases like this. It’s hard enough to hear the evidence and I can’t imagine how it really affects honest judgment of a person when so much emotion from the audience is involved. I see that element as being exceedingly important at sentencing but is it necessary at trial and does it lead a jury in a direction to prejudge before all facts are presented.

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