By Nikki Suzani
SACRAMENTO – With shelter-in-place restrictions forcing parents everywhere to work from home, there has been an abundance of cute interruptions in the workplace—Sacramento County Superior Court’s Dept. 61 experienced that firsthand last week when a defense attorney’s daughter got very, very hungry.
The counselor, who was arguing a case on behalf of a defendant, had quite the interesting entrance to court as she appeared via Zoom, turned the microphone on, and the first words that could be heard were a high-pitched, small voice: “I want a pancake.”
The defense attorney didn’t let that slow her down, though, and simply proceeded to ask about the co-counsel on the case, who had not yet arrived to court. Her daughter was not happy about being ignored.
And, seconds later the voice could be heard again off-camera. This time, even more urgent: “Mommy, I want a pancake.”
Even Court Commissioner Ken Brody couldn’t help but crack a smile, and attorneys could be seen moving back into view of the camera, perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of the off screen daughter. Unfortunately, she was hidden from view.
Now looking a little embarrassed, the lawyer grabbed her phone and began to walk throughout the house, hoping to find a less noisy spot. Her daughter, still undeterred, followed: “Pancake,” she whined, clearly upset about not getting her breakfast.
The attorney looked to the side, potentially debating whether to make the food or stay in court. Luckily, the bailiff made the decision for her, calling another case and allowing mother/defense counsel to take a step out (hopefully to make the pancake!).
She arrived back five minutes later, as the case she was involved in began to be argued. All was quiet for a bit. Then, a faint voice: “Mommy.”
And, two seconds later, it was clear that the young daughter’s demands had changed, done with the pancake and moving to the next food item: “Mommy, I want my waffle.”
This time, every member on the call let out a little chuckle, although none said anything, clearly used to child disruptions during COVID.
The hearing continued, with Deputy District Attorney Nicholas Johnson showing up to the call and explaining the necessity for a continuance, because plea deals for both defendants were dependent on DNA results that were not yet analyzed.
As they discussed the cases against a third defendant, who had since died, the voice came back, upset and insistent: “Mommy! My waffle!”
Ignoring the child, Johnson continued, leading to this, slightly sad, interaction. “[the defendant] was killed in a homicid–.”
And then: “Mommy!”
The mother/lawyer muted her microphone and said a few words to her child, most likely to calm her down.
Finally, the next court date was moved to July 9, and the defense attorney went back to “Mommy” mode, and left…presumably to make that waffle.
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