A new experience

I just returned from covering a court hearing for a class assignment. It was more exciting and interesting than I thought it would be, but sad at the same time.

I first arrive at the the Delaware County Court Administration building at 11:30 a.m. A woman at the clerks’ filing desk explains the court schedule to me.  A Class A felony is the highest felony one could have, and there will be a hearing for one at 1:30 p.m. in Circuit Court 4.

“If you have to write about a court hearing, you’ll at least want an interesting one,” the woman said jokingly as she laughed.

I was sold.

After shopping for a couple of hours to pass the time, I return to find the hallway leading to Circuit Court 4 and 5 already full of people. Three women sit at the far end, near Circuit Court 5. They argue with each other about their impending hearing — obviously a civil case. The woman in the middle speaks with the grating voice of an habitual smoker.

Another woman sits by herself, smiling frequently to anyone who passes by.

A tall, white-haired older man sits next to me on my right, sipping a hot beverage from a white cup. He hums a loud, jovial tune as he waits.

After some time, a dark-haired woman sits between the older man and me. She appears calm and friendly. After an acquaintance arrives, she moves to sit beside her. Their conversation is light and infrequent.

A white-haired officer walks by and recognizes a  man and woman sitting next to me on my left. The man is wearing a long-sleeved South Pole shirt. The woman is dressed more formally in black pants and a blouse. Her sandy-blonde hair is pulled into a tight ponytail.

“Want me to put him in handcuffs now?” the officer jokes.

“No! I need him,” the woman says without a hint of her taking offense. “All I need to do is get him to work — keep him out of trouble.”

The officer laughs as he walks away.

Later, the blonde woman walks up to the entrance of Circuit Court 4 and jiggles the handles. It’s locked.

“I’m too short to look through the windows,” she says as she sways back and forth, trying to peer through the crack between the doors.

The white-haired man on my right explains to the woman that the courts usually don’t open on time.

Fifteen minutes pass, and the courts finally open. Once everyone is seated, two officers escort four men dressed in the typical bright-orange jumpsuits with their hands cuffed at the waist into the court. The clinking of their chains fills the courtroom. Two women dressed in dark blue (almost black) jumpsuits follow. A fifth man joins the group a few minutes later. While the other men appear more worrisome and anxious, this man seems at peace.

The two women — one blonde, the other brunette — chat noisily with each other. A friend of the blonde’s gains her attention and points to her ring finger, signaling that she was recently married. The blonde appears excited about the news and starts a conversation with the woman, catching up on news about their children and friends.

I then notice that the woman sitting next to me — the black-haired woman who briefly sat by me in the hallway — is crying. Fat tears pour down her cheeks as she stares at a wall on the opposite side of the court. The calm-looking man looks over at her, and his expression turns to one of love as he tilts his head and locks gazes with the woman. She giggles after a moment and wipes her cheeks with a tissue. She says something to her acquaintance, who sits two seats away, and seems to cheer up. The man still tries to lovingly hold her gaze.

The long-haired brunette woman is the first to take the stand. Her name is Shelly Moery. She is changing her original plea of not guilty to guilty in order to obtain a shorter sentence of 18 months with six months served prior. She is accused of stealing textbooks from the Ivy Tech bookstore in Muncie. The motion is granted, and the state drops all other charges against her.

Next is the calm-looking man. The woman next to me sniffles as she starts crying again. Her acquaintance is crying as well, now.

He states his name as Mustafa Sevion.

His attorney, Lon D. Bryan, describes the history of his sentencing to the judge. Sevion delivered cocaine on Sept. 9, 2008, and July 13, 2009, to confidential informants. According to The Star Press, he was first arrested on Sept. 16, 2008, and again on Aug. 4, 2009.

Bryan offers to change Sevion’s original plea of not guilty to guilty in order for his sentence to not exceed 25 years.

The judge accepts the plea and sets his sentencing for April 6 at 9 a.m. The crying woman instantly responds with a disgruntled snort.

I wish I could have stayed for more hearings, but my one-hour-time-limit parking was used mostly for waiting. And on a college budget, I can’t afford a parking ticket.

After leaving the court, I can’t help but to feel sorry for Sevion and the crying women. Outwardly, he appears to be a good guy. He has that type of peace about him that I’ve only seen on someone who’s comfortable with everything in his life, like he could handle anything that comes his way with zen.

It’s unfortunate that such nice-seeming people get mixed up in criminal activities. And, sadly, it took two arrests for Sevion to realize the negative affects of what he was doing.

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