Step Out For Air, Get Locked Out of Court07/20/2010
Sentencing hearings are usually pretty brief.
The defendant has already been convicted by a jury or pleaded guilty to a crime. The judge hears comments from prosecutors, defense lawyers and in some cases victims and others before meting out a sentence.
But a really strange thing happened at Monday's marathon five-hour sentencing hearing for the owners of Aloun Farms, brothers Mike and Alec Sou. The hearing ran unusually long — far past the 4:30 p.m. courthouse's posted closing time — and I got trapped outside the building with several of the defendants' family members who left to get some air during a late recess.
"I have to move my car. I didn't know I couldn't go back in. Otherwise I would have thought twice about it," said Prany Soulatha, a cousin of the Sous. She had left her 80-year-old father in the courtroom.