Chilean Delegation Observes Criminal Trial Motion to Suppress Evidence

SchneiderOn Thursday morning, October 1,  the Chilean students participated in a mediation training on foreclosure hosted by MULS Professors Andrea Schneider and Natalie Fleury.  Afterwards, they met with Professor Schneider who, with the help of attorney and translator Cynthia Herber, did a great job keeping up with their many questions. The students found it remarkable that mediation has become a regular feature of the U.S. legal system, and asked how this came about. Professor Schneider explained that the participation of judges, who refer litigants to this resource, has made mediation a more regular feature of resolving conflicts.

In the afternoon, the students visited the Milwaukee Courthouse, and received a tour by Felony Court Coordinator Mary Jo Swider, including a stop to observe the intake court in action. Commissioner Julia E. Vosper came out to greet the group and give them a brief explanation of this first steps in the criminal justice process:  verifying the probable cause basis for the arrest, setting bail and scheduling a trial date. The students were stunned when one man was escorted into the courtroom handcuffed and wearing the orange prison garb. This condition did not seem to correspond to his crime for driving without a license.

criminal trialCourt Interpreter Coordinator Jackie Thachenkary then brought the Hurtado students to observe a felony trial, in which the defense attorney argued a motion to suppress the “fruits of the poisonous tree” based on the argument that the Spanish speaking defendant did not grasp the significance of the Miranda warning—which the arresting officer had recited quickly in English. After a very impassioned argument, Public Defender Alex Lockwood came out to greet the students during a break. He explained that this case was a particularly complex and challenging one given not only the language issues but also the mental competency of the defendant, who has been charged with homicide. The students were impressed with the patience of Judge Daniel L. Konkol, who had to ask the defendant numerous times if he wanted to testify and waive his constitutional right to remain silent.

Later, the students then visited a civil trial to get a view of a jury, which their own system does not use. The delegation’s visit to the intake, criminal trial, and civil trial courts at the Milwaukee County Courthouse served as a nice complement to the academic component offered earlier by MULS criminal law professors.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Gordon Hylton

    The organizers of this visit, the faculty who participated, and especially Prof. Lisa Laplante deserve special congratulations. With luck, this will begin a tradition of regular visits to MULS by law students from other countries and other legal traditions.

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