What happens at an arraignment?

Nov 29, 2022

What happens at an arraignment? What should you expect? Susan Reff and Tracy Hightower-Henne discuss what happens during an arraignment in this episode. They give listeners tips on how to prepare for an arraignment, and share the biggest mistakes people make during this process. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to know what to expect at your arraignment so that you can be as prepared as possible. Make sure to listen to this episode of the Lady Lawyer League podcast so that you have a better understanding of what will happen when you go before a judge.


Susan Reff: What happens at an arraignment. On today’s podcast, we will explain what happens at an arraignment, what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, and even a few spelling tips about the word arraignment.

Announcer: This is the lady Lawyer League podcast. Omaha’s leading lady lawyers empowering women to be legal savvy. Hosted by Susan Reff and Tracy Hightower-Henne of Hightower Law.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Welcome back to The Lady Lawyer League podcast.

Susan Reff: Are you talking really quiet on purpose? No. Oh, sexy bedroom voice.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Was that really that low?

Susan Reff: I don’t know what your sexy bedroom voice sounds like.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You just got.

Announcer: That.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right.

Susan Reff: Save that for next episode.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Episode ten. That would be the season finale.

Susan Reff: The season finale.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right.

Susan Reff: Bedroom voice.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What are we talking about today?

Susan Reff: Arraignment, arraignments, lots fun. Court time.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Wait, can you spell it?

Susan Reff: Don’t look a r, a I and G.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: M.a. Nope. The G’s before the end. Arraigning Yeah. You said arraignment. All right.

Susan Reff: A rain ing meant that could happen to you.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s kind of like the word reign in like a king reigning. Yeah. So the G’s before the end.

Susan Reff: Or the word sign?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes. Or like, the word sign, but it’s not like one of those I before E except after c.

Susan Reff: G before mn.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Except for the word. Weird is not after C, but it’s E, It’s.

Susan Reff: Such a weird exception to the.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Rule. So I once won a spelling bee. Did you know that?

Susan Reff: Yes. You’ve told me. I don’t know, 46 times.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You know what? This year I have one in my childhood. I’m wondering how many times I told you this one.

Susan Reff: Pie.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Eating. No, no.

Announcer: What?

Susan Reff: What other things? Tap dancing?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No. Whooping. Yes.

Susan Reff: You did tell me.

Announcer: I knew it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I knew you’d get there.

Susan Reff: Okay, What else? Let’s see what other contests, if you want.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, it’s just the in life and spelling. Spelling bee.

Susan Reff: All before the age of.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Probably.

Susan Reff: 12.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It was one set of summer.

Susan Reff: Was it the same event?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No.

Susan Reff: A r.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, it was a summer. It was at a summer pool and.

Susan Reff: The spelling bee was at a pool.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh. And so it was like, All right, kids, whoever wants to do the hula hoop contest. And I go up and I start hula hooping and then they’re like, as kids stop, they fall out.

Susan Reff: Yeah, yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I just kept going, But I can’t do it now. Can you.

Susan Reff: Hula hoop? No. Did you get a prize?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I don’t think so. Or a.

Susan Reff: Ribbon?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I don’t think so. I think it was like an impromptu.

Susan Reff: Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Here’s some ten hula hoops kids get up here. They didn’t have it planned. There was no trophy. Oh, but I should get one now.

Susan Reff: You should. A hula hoop?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, a trophy.

Susan Reff: Oh, have you seen those weighted hula hoops?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. That’s too much work, though.

Susan Reff: Have you tried.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It? No.

Susan Reff: Oh, it’s a workout. Well, I don’t know if you tried it. I mean, maybe you tried it. I can’t hula hoop, so.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, maybe, you know, with the weight.

Susan Reff: I doubt it. I doubt it. I’m not very good at. I can’t hula hoop. I can’t throw a Frisbee.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, yeah. You are bad at Frisbee. I’ve seen this.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I can’t throw a Frisbee, so I just avoid these things round things. I can throw a football.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, I can’t do that.

Susan Reff: Okay. Yeah, that’s about it. I don’t know that I can think of.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Frisbee is so much easier than throwing a football.

Susan Reff: You think so? But I don’t.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oc.

Susan Reff: Oc.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right, so what is an arraignment with a g n not an n.

Susan Reff: G n g arraignment gene. Oh, so an arraignment is a formal hearing. When you’re charged with a crime, there’s only it only comes up in criminal cases. There’s no arraignment in civil cases. So it’s the hearing.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Unless you’re being held in contempt in a divorce action.

Susan Reff: They arraign.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You. There is. Yeah, because you do a written denial.

Susan Reff: Oh, yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right. So that’s one exception.

Susan Reff: I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same, but.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Maybe it’s spelled with an G. It’s a different type of arraignment.

Susan Reff: So in a criminal case, when you appear for the first time in front of a judge, they arraign you by telling you what you’re charged with. It’s like the formal reading of your rights also. So they say, you know, Tracy, you’ve been charged with hula hooping after dark and then they tell you what the penalties for that charge are. Five days in jail, no more pool entry after dark. And then they tell you what your rights are. You have the right to an attorney, blah, blah, blah. And then they ask you how you want to plead.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: They get in the Constitution.

Susan Reff: Yes, for sure.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So when I’ve seen arraignments and this is back in, I don’t know, back in the day when our office used to be across the street from courthouse, I would be like, I’m going to go sit in any courtroom and just see what happens.

Susan Reff: You watch arraignments?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, I would watch arraignment. So I would sit in the back of the courtroom and they do it what’s called a cattle call advisory of their rights, right?

Susan Reff: Yes. Where they tell everyone in the room at the same time, Hey, everybody, here’s what your rights are. Listen up.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes. Yeah, some.

Susan Reff: Judges do that. Not all.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, it seems efficient. They say the sort of constitutional. Is it the Bill of Rights that they’re going over? No, They say all of this one time because oftentimes there’s 30 people at a time in one court.

Susan Reff: Yeah, but then everybody that comes up afterwards, they’re like, Miss Hightower, did you hear when I explained all the rights to Mr. Smith and everyone says yes, even though, like, you know damn well they weren’t in the courtroom because they don’t want to say no, because they either don’t know what the judge is talking about. And yes, is usually the right answer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Because they think if you say no, they’re judging you like, you weren’t listening.

Susan Reff: To me, you were late. Yeah. Oh, yeah, that’s what I mean. But everybody says yes, I’ve been standing next to a client and no, they weren’t in the courtroom. And they’re like, Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And are you like.

Susan Reff: And I say, Judge, actually, I would tell the judge. Judge, actually, my client and I were outside of the courtroom talking or whatever. So they need their right. And then so sometimes the judge is like, oh, go to the back of the room. Anyone who hasn’t heard the rights, you’re going to be last because you were late.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: That is how a couple of them sound.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I know. I’m good at imitating judges. Meet the mean ones.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Your client wasn’t under oath at that point, so you didn’t just perjure your client and say, like, Judge, my client just lied.

Susan Reff: I think it was providing clarity of my client’s answer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Okay. All right. All right.

Susan Reff: So that the process could be handled correctly. Okay, good. They didn’t understand the question, Judge Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Judge, Their answer was wrong because they didn’t understand your question. Yeah.

Susan Reff: All right, there we go. That’s the right answer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So the the process of the arraignment is really part of the justice system where we get our rights read to us. Because at the time of arrest in the movies, everyone’s told you have the right to remain silent. Right?

Susan Reff: It’s different rights, right? You have different rights when you interact with the police as when you are in court.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. You have a right to a fair trial in court.

Susan Reff: Do they.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Say you have a right to.

Susan Reff: A speedy trial.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And you have a right to confront your witnesses? Yes.

Susan Reff: Present witnesses on your own behalf to a lawyer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But some of that stuff they say when you’re arrested to.

Susan Reff: Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: If you can’t afford one, one will be appointed to you.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I think that happens.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I say that happens in the movie.

Susan Reff: When you were arrested, what did they say?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I’ve never been arrested. Ha! How funny for that. Overnight hula hooping.

Susan Reff: Hula hooping after.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Dark. I have never been arrested.

Susan Reff: I bet that’s illegal somewhere.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Have you been arrested?

Susan Reff: No, I have never been arrested.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You look down when I said that.

Susan Reff: It’s the bright lights. I’ve. I’ve been ticketed, which I believe we’ve talked about on previous episodes. Never been arrested. I’ve been to several jails, and so have you. So don’t talk about that against me.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But not as a prisoner?

Susan Reff: No, as a.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Prisoner, No.

Susan Reff: I’ve never been arrested.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, yeah. You have to be arrested before you can go to prison.

Susan Reff: Well, you would have a serious constitutional violation if they put you in jail and you weren’t arrested.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right. So tell us about that. Can you go to jail at an arraignment?

Susan Reff: Yes, you can. So if you decide at your arraignment, you’re going to plead guilty to a charge that carries possible jail time.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The judge do that right.

Susan Reff: Because you’re an idiot.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And you don’t have a lawyer with you, even though one could be appointed.

Susan Reff: Right. The the judge will can and probably will sentence you as if you’re just moving on forward with the case. And that could be jail time.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So back in the day when I used to sit in all the courtrooms just to learn and see what happens in court. And during these arraignments, I would always like you get this moment where you’re like, oh, my gosh, they’re taking this person away, like in handcuffs. And they just thought they were going to.

Susan Reff: Get a $25.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Fine. Yeah. And and then you see them turn around to their like spouse sitting in the galley going, Can you take my keys for me? I parked the car out there, I guess. Go, Yeah, it’s it’s they’re going straight to jail, right? Yeah.

Susan Reff: It’s, it’s so here’s the really funny thing. So that happens right to the first person, maybe in the courtroom and then the next person does the exact same thing and act surprised when they get put in jail. And the judge is like, well, some judges are like, well, didn’t you see so and so get hauled off to jail? And people are like, What?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, they weren’t in the courtroom. They’re late.

Susan Reff: Remember? Right. They were late.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So but they answer yes, right?

Susan Reff: Yeah. I don’t know. Or they you know, maybe by then they’ve at least learned to say, I don’t know.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Okay. So there’s a huge difference, though, between like a speeding ticket because you’ll get you’ll get a court date on your speeding ticket. Right. And is that an arraignment?

Susan Reff: So when you. Get a ticket. There are some offenses that you have to go to court on and some offenses that you can just pay the fine if you want to. So, for example, a speeding ticket, you can just pay the fine. That’s basically your plea of guilty to the charge and then your sentences that set fine. But like, you can get a ticket for reckless driving, but you have to appear in court and have the judge go through the arraignment because it carries possible jail time.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So I’ve gotten speeding tickets before. We won’t say how many. I don’t remember how many. It’s been more than five years, though, because I had to, like, get new insurance and falls off after five years. So I’ve slowed down a bit in the last five years.

Susan Reff: Oh, that’s good.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But I’ve never gotten like a reckless driving. So on the ticket is it clearly say you have to go to court. You can’t just say.

Susan Reff: Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: For that because I feel like the speeding tickets are confusing, like there’s a court date. And then can you imagine if everyone showed up for their speeding ticket court dates?

Susan Reff: People do, and they’ve already even paid it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Sometimes they’re very confused.

Susan Reff: Yes. Or they show up and they’re like, how Sarpy County has the TVs?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes.

Susan Reff: And I think Douglas County has one TV. But whether it works is a whole nother story. Yeah, but people are like, well, I have a ticket that says I have court today and then, you know, court staff either are helpful or not. And some will say, well, you know, you’ve already paid.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It and they don’t see their name on the TV.

Susan Reff: Yeah. So like, where do I go, Oh my God, am I in the right place? Help.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And every day. Yes, yes.

Susan Reff: There should be like a court house. What do they call it? The museum. They help you. Oh, docent. Yeah, with an iPad.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But they could. I mean, a docent is like, you know, someone who’s researched some art pieces and they’re like, they can tell you the history of all of that, that one piece of art.

Susan Reff: So maybe like a liaison. What’s the person at the hotel that tells you the concierge? A concierge that’s.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Maybe a concierge?

Susan Reff: It was a misnomer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Docent Yeah, not a myth. It was misnomer, yes.

Susan Reff: So they could have like, they could pull that person’s ticket up and see that it was paid.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah.

Susan Reff: On their iPad.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: That would seem smart. So that wouldn’t happen, right?

Susan Reff: They don’t even have the right number of elevators at the courthouse.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: How many elevators do they need?

Susan Reff: Well, there’s like a statistic for flow of people and square footage of a building for how many elevators are needed. And the courthouse is like way not in compliance.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: How do you know this information?

Susan Reff: Um, I don’t know. It’s a long story. It’s a long story. I was in jail one time. No, I’m kidding.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So this is. Yeah, it’s.

Susan Reff: Like, grandfathered in because it’s a historic building.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Got it. Sarpy County or Douglas County.

Susan Reff: Douglas.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, yeah.

Susan Reff: There’s Sarpy is a new building.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, I was going to say they built another an extra elevator. All right, So. So we.

Susan Reff: Have anyway.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Problems.

Susan Reff: There’s elevator problems hopefully are just on the the first main floor. The second floor, which is the main floor.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But no one knows where the stairs are unless you know where the stairs.

Susan Reff: Right? Dumb.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah.

Susan Reff: Yeah. And it’s not handicapped accessible.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The stairs.

Susan Reff: The front door of the courthouse.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, that’s true. So, Doug, come in.

Susan Reff: You have to get special permission. Yeah. Anyway, so what happens when you go to jail after your arraignment?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, you got to figure out where you’re.

Susan Reff: You’re. You’re going to be late for work.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You’re going to get probably a parking ticket.

Susan Reff: Yeah, because you’re you parked.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You probably didn’t pay the meter either. Before you.

Susan Reff: Can, it’s going to be a.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Lot. Yeah. So there’s different arraignments for felonies, misdemeanors, traffic tickets. You can likely just if you don’t pay your speeding ticket, you need to go.

Susan Reff: Right. If you don’t pay it before that date, you you actually are then expected to be in court to contest the charges.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right. So let’s say you get a reckless driving ticket and you show up to court and you want a lawyer and you don’t have one, Right.

Susan Reff: So what should you do? So at the point where so a lot of times in the cattle call arraignments, the judges see people that don’t have an attorney and they ask them, you know, what are your plans for an attorney? Are you going to hire an attorney? Are you here to ask for one to be appointed? And then they if if the person says, well, I don’t think I can afford an attorney, then the judge says, okay, let’s go through the qualifications question to see if you are eligible for a court appointed attorney.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And they ask some financial questions.

Susan Reff: They’re supposed to, some do, some don’t.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: How much do you have in your retirement account?

Susan Reff: How many people do you support? Are you working? Blah, blah, blah?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: How much money is in your bank account? Sometimes they ask that, Yeah, yeah.

Susan Reff: If you show up with an attorney, you know, obviously your attorney knows how to handle all of the questions from the judge for you. And you know, maybe you have a plea agreement worked out, maybe you’re going to plead not guilty, whatever.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Okay, So how do you prepare for an arraignment.

Susan Reff: Without an attorney?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah.

Susan Reff: I would say if you’re going to do it without an attorney, know what your charge is, what the possible penalties are, even though the judge is going to tell you it’s kind of good to know ahead of time and not have it just fly in your face. You know, like a lot of people assume, anything traffic related can’t put you in jail, which is not true. Lots of traffic related offenses can put you in jail like driving.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: With not a speeding ticket. Right. Unless it’s over. How fast do I have to be going?

Susan Reff: You can be going 4 million miles an hour. If it’s just a speeding ticket, it’s no jail. But a lot of times if you start driving super fast, they consider it careless. Reckless.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. You know, 4 million miles over is probably going to get you a.

Susan Reff: Reckless write right.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ticket.

Susan Reff: But, you know, like, I’ve seen tickets where the person was driving over 100 miles an hour and it’s still a speeding ticket.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So what’s the difference for an arraignment? If you have a lawyer, what’s going to happen then?

Susan Reff: Well, most attorneys, if unless they’re going to plead guilty, they’ve worked out a plea agreement that they’re going to do at the arraignment. Most attorneys will file a written request to waive the arraignment hearing so that you don’t have to go to that hearing and just plead not guilty. You can actually do that on a piece of paper. So that’s one of the benefits, I think, of having an attorney that’s familiar with that court system so they can save you the time and the attorney’s fees of actually going to that hearing and sitting there and watching 25 to 50 other people go through an arraignment.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Taking time off work and all of that.

Susan Reff: Parking.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So someone that doesn’t have an attorney probably wouldn’t really know that process. Right. Waiver of arraignment, right? Yeah.

Susan Reff: I mean, they could do it if they figured it out. You know, anyone can represent themselves, but they don’t make it easy.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What should you wear to the arraignment? Depending on which judge you have?

Susan Reff: I feel like this is a what? Not to do more than a what to do.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What’s your advice to clients, what to wear to an arraignment if you’re not waiving it?

Susan Reff: I tell people for any court appearance, you know, wear something that shows that you respect the process and you respect the court system. You know, like with guys, they’ll be like, oh, should I wear my my best suit? And I’m like, No, you don’t have to do that. But like, you know, jeans without holes, rips or that aren’t dirty a collared shirt, you know, that’s fine. But, you know, I mean, you can show up to court in joggers in a hoodie and the judge is going to probably treat you the same if you’re respectful to them.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But there are some judges that will get mad if your shirt’s not ironed.

Susan Reff: Really? That happened.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You saw that at a show.

Susan Reff: At a show.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: At a there’s a judge. What? There’s a judge whose name rhymes with show.

Susan Reff: I’m like, totally blanking.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Okay, we’ll just say it. The low show.

Susan Reff: Oh, oh, Judge Lowe. Oh, you can’t do. I mean, he’s going to find something with everybody. Like he would look at you and be like, Oh, a white shirt. Is that like your favorite color? Or like. Like he just wants to talk to people?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I think back in the day when I was sitting in the back of those arguments, I heard him often say like, Sorry you couldn’t iron your shirt before court today. And I just always think how nerve wracking that, Oh, I know someone. Yeah. And maybe they don’t have an iron.

Susan Reff: Right. But my favorite season is wear your bikini to court season, which is the summer. And I literally have seen it, you know, like.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The mesh shirt over the top.

Susan Reff: Yeah, well, or not, I’ve seen a bikini top in the courthouse at court with, like, tight small shorts. I’ve seen men in, like tank tops, especially the ones that they like cut the sleeves off and they, like, cut it way.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Down so their armpits sticking.

Susan Reff: So it’s barely like the bottom is like barely hold. It’s like a flap in the front, in the back, you know?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. So I think it’s the idea I like that wear something that shows that you respect the process because I’ve heard somewhere say like where were you would wear to church? What if I don’t go to church?

Susan Reff: Kate Maher, the director of the league, former director of the legal clinic, said that to one of her clients and she wore a church robe because that’s what she wore to church. Her church, she’s in the choir. It was very cute.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But I do see people wearing what they wear to work, right? Yeah, because they need to go to work after that.

Susan Reff: Yes. Yeah. So some people wear like a shirt that says, you know, like canes or bookies or target or whatever.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah.

Susan Reff: The pajama thing really bothers a lot of the judges. And the best one is the the you’re in court for an alcohol. Elation and you have an alcohol branded t.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Shirt or you have a marijuana leaf on your shirt.

Susan Reff: Yeah, you’re in court for marijuana and you have a marijuana shirt on.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So maybe turn your shirt inside out before your arraignment. Yeah, Maybe the court concierge could turn that inside out before you go in.

Susan Reff: And, like, right in the middle of.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The.

Susan Reff: Rotunda there.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s either that or bikini.

Susan Reff: Yeah, but Judge Lowe likes those types of people, too.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right, What happens if you miss your arraignment?

Susan Reff: So your arraignment, when you are either given a ticket or you’re arrested and you’re bond and you bond out, you sign either your ticket or your bond papers that says, I promise I will appear at my arraignment. So if you do not appear, a couple of things can happen. A warrant can be issued for your arrest and an additional charge can be added to your case for failing to appear for that court hearing. Not that doesn’t always happen, but it it can.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And then what happens on the warrant? They go out and look for you.

Susan Reff: Generally not. They generally don’t like run around Omaha looking for people that have warrants. You people think that right. But they.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Don’t. That’s what happens in the movies, right? They like bang on your door. Susan Raff, you in there?

Susan Reff: Got a warrant And I’m like, under the table. No, they generally most people get picked up on a warrant when they get stopped by the police officers. Again, for.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Speeding.

Susan Reff: For speeding? Yeah. Or driving without your headlights or something like that. Sometimes people find out they have warrants when they go to apply for a job and they do a background check. Some people get their days mixed up. You know, it could.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Be they just Google their name.

Susan Reff: Or they Google, you know, you know, they have.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: There is a way to search if you have a warrant, right?

Susan Reff: Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: In put all the words into Google. Tracy Hightower, Henry, warrant search Nebraska is something will come up. Not that I have a warrant.

Susan Reff: I don’t Yeah. I mean, I can tell you the Douglas County Sheriff’s in the Omaha Police Department make their warrants public. I don’t know about like the FBI. If they do, I don’t know.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So that sounded like the most wanted.

Susan Reff: Yeah. Remember when we were kids? Did, like, that was a big deal. I always was like, who’s on the FBI most wanted list? What you do.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: With the information?

Susan Reff: I made sure if I looked around and saw those people, I was going to turn them in.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Did you look on the like encyclopedia for their name because you didn’t have Google then?

Susan Reff: And. No, I didn’t look for I mean, usually it was like so-and-so’s on the news because they did something really horrible.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I just I watched the whole Jeffrey Dahmer documentary, like back to back. It was it was good. And I feel like he should have been I mean, they tried to get him on a most wanted list for a long time. I mean, his neighbor.

Susan Reff: Yeah. It wasn’t she like calling the police. I see. Oh, disclaimer didn’t watch it. Don’t know all the details about Jeffrey.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: He was calling the police so often because of the smells in his apartment and they like, you know.

Susan Reff: Did she think he was like, hurting.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: People? Yes. Och, yeah.

Susan Reff: She wasn’t just like you.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Gross Yeah.

Susan Reff: It’s old food.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Or whatever. Yeah. And he kept saying, I have spoiling meat. Yeah, it was. It’s pretty it’s bad.

Susan Reff: Looks really creepy in the previews. The guy who plays him.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, it was a very good documentary. I think they did a good job with like, the facts. But they.

Susan Reff: Had actors. So were they like recreating little.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: C documentary.

Susan Reff: Docu series or whatever they call that?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Or dramatized something. Yeah, it wasn’t a documentary, but I’ve seen some side by sides of the actual court testimony versus the testimony that they re-enacted, and it’s almost identical. It’s pretty good. I thought they did a good job.

Susan Reff: Did you watch it because you like legal stories because you’re a lawyer, or did you watch it because you like to watch train wrecks?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I think serial killers are fascinating.

Susan Reff: I know.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Like and he, like, ate his people.

Susan Reff: But like, nobody watches documentaries about, like, crazy tax fraud. So I start like, even though there’s a lot of court stuff about it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, I started one last night about these teenagers that were robbing Paris Hilton’s house, and then they would, like, just go up to all these celebrity homes and open the door and they’re just unlocked. And then they.

Susan Reff: Because they’re like tweeting, I’m on a.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Cruise.

Susan Reff: In Morocco and they’re like, cool. There’s no one at their house.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Kind of like tax fraud, but not to.

Susan Reff: Rob somebody who’s like tax free. No, you need to go back to Crim Law 101.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Okay.

Susan Reff: You could go to jail for both robbery and tax fraud. Yeah, just.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What robbery is actually physically taking something.

Susan Reff: Right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: With force.

Susan Reff: No burglary.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, that’s burglary. Yeah.

Susan Reff: That’s the. No, wait. Whoa. Is it. Is it backwards?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, I think you’re right. It’s burglary is a physical force.

Susan Reff: Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Sure.

Susan Reff: Don’t hold us to anything.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Assault and battery. Battery.

Announcer: Battery.

Susan Reff: I think you can just rob a house, but you have to burgle.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Burglar or burglarize.

Susan Reff: I don’t know. Now I’m all confused. Is it end before G or G before it?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s G, then an oc oc. All right. How does your gender race factor into how you’re treated?

Susan Reff: You probably know different than in everyday life. You know, like judges have biases. They’re humans. And if you don’t think humans have biases that they can put aside when they put a robe on, you’re wrong.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, judges have biases.

Susan Reff: So I think it depends on who the judge is and then, you know, everything else.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah.

Susan Reff: So, I mean, I’ve seen judges treat everyone horribly in a courtroom, and I’ve seen judges treat everyone very fairly. So I don’t know. I mean, I think there’s a lot of factors that can go into answering that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But yeah, and we can only really answer the courts that we have experience in here.

Susan Reff: Well, and yeah, and we don’t get the judges perspective.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: We don’t sit in the back of all the arraignments that happen. No, not anymore.

Susan Reff: Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right. Should we go to the questions from.

Susan Reff: Reoccurring Google questions or whatever they are?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. We don’t even know where these questions come from, but they show.

Susan Reff: They come from.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Google. They show up on the screen. Oh, yeah, they do come from Google. What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen happen at an arraignment? Okay, I have a story. It has nothing to do with being a lawyer, but my mom and I were witness to a car accident, and so we got subpoenaed. Or summons, right? Yeah. Show up to. I don’t think maybe it wasn’t an arraignment.

Susan Reff: Wasn’t the.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Arraignment. All right, well, now I’m going to tell the story. Course. Yeah. Yeah, it was caught, and we’re sitting there. Wait and wait and wait. And. And I. This was before I was a lawyer, and there’s all these lawyers going up to the front table, you know, checking in or whatever. And then all of a sudden, this lawyer sneezes and he’s facing away from everyone, and he turns around and he’s got like this, like snot hanging like four feet out of his nose. And he turns around, he goes, Does anyone have a Kleenex? And my mom and I were like, What is happening? And someone gave him a clean accent. And but we were like, Is this a joke? It just seemed like a prop or something. Yeah.

Susan Reff: Like lawyers aren’t humans. They can’t.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Have. Right.

Susan Reff: So is that the burger car accident?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: That was the car accident Booger out that I made. It was a pretty awful car accident. And we saw and, you know, it was hit and run or whatever. And we had stopped to tell the police we saw it. That guy didn’t show up. Oh, it wasn’t an arraignment. It was going to be the trial, right?

Susan Reff: Yeah, I’m sure it was a trial, but.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It was the same type of.

Susan Reff: Courtroom. Yeah, it’s the same thing.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Do you got anything else funnier?

Susan Reff: I mean, I’ve just seen the craziest stuff happen at arraignments. People walking up like we kind of talked about, and they plead guilty and then they go to jail and they’re like, What? What? And then the judge is like.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Bye, I. And then, like, what about my medication? I’ll figure that.

Susan Reff: Out. Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s unfortunate that so many people end up at their arraignment. They don’t know what’s going to happen.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. So I haven’t talked to anyone. Right.

Susan Reff: They haven’t talked to a lawyer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right, Now.

Susan Reff: Can I wear short shorts? How short?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Where are the kind that the pockets stick out. Do that.

Susan Reff: Oh, gosh. Yeah. And like with the fringe at the bottom or the kind with your butt. Yeah, your butt.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Hanging out the back. Yeah. Don’t wear.

Susan Reff: Those. Yeah. Because.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Because you wear that to church Susan.

Susan Reff: Well, and you’re going to have to sit on seats where you don’t know what was on there beforehand.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, it’s not just your butt cheeks sticking out.

Susan Reff: Why can’t I skip an arraignment if I have something to do?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, you can.

Susan Reff: Sure. Go ahead, Miss. Your arraignment. No big deal. A lot of people I mean, I would get questions like, can you reschedule my arraignment? And if you have an attorney, there’s some some things the attorney can do, but you really can’t, like, just be like, well, I’m not going to go that day, but I can go on Tuesday. I can’t go on Monday, but I can go on Tuesday. So I’ll just show up on Tuesday and like, figure it out.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What if you’re out of town?

Susan Reff: I really think that’s when you really need to get an attorney, you know, like I’m going to be out of town and help me figure out what I need to do.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So you can skip, but probably don’t do.

Susan Reff: It. Not skip, skip excused absences.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You need to call in sick with a lawyer. Yeah. All right, Next.

Susan Reff: Can I live stream my arraignment?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You want to do updates on Twitter while you’re there?

Susan Reff: So I think the answer to this is yes, if you got permission ahead of time, because cameras are allowed in our courtrooms, if a person follows the correct protocol. But I think it’s only for like legit licensed news outlets.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Can you do it for the gram? Instagram? That’s short for Instagram.

Susan Reff: Yeah. I’m guessing same thing.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: If it’s just 15 second little videos on Instagram, like typically they’re going to tell you to put your phone away.

Susan Reff: Yeah, a lot.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You look like a lawyer, so if you want to walk in looking like a lawyer.

Susan Reff: A lot of judges have a unwritten rule that you can’t have a cell phone in. You can’t have a cell phone like out of your pocket in the courtroom if you are not an attorney.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right. So. All right. Can someone else sit in for me?

Susan Reff: Hey, Tracy. I have court on Wednesday. I can’t make it. Will you just pretend to be me?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Like, check your ID?

Susan Reff: No.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So not suggested. But yes, you could do it.

Susan Reff: This happens where sometimes someone will come and they’ll say they’ll call up the person’s name and they’re like, He’s in jail in Colorado. And they’re like, noted warrant issued. And the person is like, Wait, wait. I told you he couldn’t. He’s like, It’s not his choice, you know, blah, blah, blah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right.

Susan Reff: That happens. Or sometimes moms and dads go.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So don’t send your doppelganger. You need to go.

Susan Reff: They could go to jail.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Your doppelganger can go to jail.

Susan Reff: Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: For you. Yeah.

Susan Reff: Ooh.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All right. Arraignment. Arraignment.

Susan Reff: The biggest takeaway. Make sure you have an attorney.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Get a lawyer.

Susan Reff: Don’t do it on your own. It’s no good. Don’t Google what to do.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Susan Reff: Don’t wear short shorts. Who wear short shorts? Not me. By.

Announcer: Be sure to like and subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts if you would like to learn more about our. At H.R. law, Omaha.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: We’ll see you next week.

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