Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My First Visit to the Court House

Hello! It seems like days have passed since yesterday's post. I am dead-tired and ready for a nap, but it has been a blast! So classes went pretty well yesterday, and I've got campus all figured out now (it's only 3 buildings, so it's no real feat). After class got out at 6pm, we went back home and studied for a bit, then the 2 guys in my house and I went to grab some dinner down on the corner. It's the same place we went to get hamburgers a couple days ago- we're really branching out. It's crazy how people are EVERYWHERE all the time. The restaurant was pretty busy when we walked in at 9:00, but it was PACKED when we left at 10:30.

Speaking of nighttime, the other thing that is so weird getting used to is that the sun doesn't set until 10:30. It's literally bright as the afternoon at 9pm. It throws me off-guard too, I guess I can see why people stay up so late here (although they also get a 3 hour break during the day).

This morning at 9:30am we had to be at the Madrid "juzgados," which is the lower court for Spain. One of the guys in my house and one of the girls across the hall are in the same class (Comparative Criminal Procedure) for which we had to be at the courthouse, so we all left at 8:55, assuming that would give us plenty of time to navigate the Metro and get to the juzgado in time to grab some coffee. We were wrong. After just barely missing a train and after another train stopped TWICE in the middle of a tunnel, we were 10 minutes late and everyone was literally standing on the courthouse steps waiting for us. Oh well. And then getting through security was loads of fun- apparently they have had a lot of judges murdered in the courthouse in recent history, so there are no cameras allowed and you have to pass through a metal detector. It sucked.

But once we ACTUALLY got inside, it was great. We talked w/ one of the judges who described the Spanish judicial system, how it differs from ours, and how they're trying to incorporate many American legal devices. Apparently many other systems envy ours, which was good to hear. And another thing we've learned is that foreign law professors LOVE American students b/c we're very outgoing and engaging in legal conversation. No pressure or anything. But then we went and sat in on a few hearings in a courtroom, which was cool b/c we got to see ust how different their system is. I was totally nerding out and thought it was awesome, but I won't go on about it here because it's all pretty dorky. But let's put it this way - the trials lasted 15 minutes and you had lawyers acting as both prosecutors and defense attorneys at the same time.

So now I'm just waiting for my last class of the day to start and then going home and taking a NAP. Nothing too exciting is on the plate right now, but all is good and I'm still really excited to be here! Hope everyone's doing well back home.


Anonymous said...

Hey...I love the blog...it's going to be fun following your happenings for the next few weeks (then we'll join you). In the park pics, people are wearing jackets...is it really that cool? Have fun, sample the tapas, and study hard (could have skipped that one probably!).

BRV said...

Yeah, it's been rather cold, and rainy a few days. The high so far has been like 72 maybe, but usually in the 50s and 60s. They're saying it should warm up soon though!