By Alexander Ramirez
I had an interesting week of court watch that included an influencer on his campaign for California governor and an article I never thought I would have to write.
To start, my Wednesday shift included me watching Kevin Paffrath in court as he tried to argue that his alias, “Meet Kevin,” was a nickname and not a brand. Considering this is the second influencer I had seen in court after the Zayn Silmi restraining order filing, it left me wondering if seeing two influencers in court in the span of a short term of time was a coincidence or a reflection of something changing in the background.
As for the Paffrath case, I thought it was interesting because although it wasn’t a criminal trial like I was used to, it included things like ballot laws and an active chat because of Paffrath’s presence. As for the ruling, the judge ultimately decided that Paffrath’s alias was considered a brand and thus not allowed on the ballot.
While I agree that regulations should be upheld, I also believed in Paffrath’s arguments even if his name has been used for his YouTube career and real estate ventures. Of course, I also sympathized with Paffrath saying that his campaign is basically over since more people won’t be able to identify him on the ballot.
If there could be more of a benefit than a negative between two different choices, wouldn’t the right thing be to choose the more positive outcome, in this case just letting Paffrath run with his alias on the ballot? This hearing got me thinking about that a bit.
As for Friday’s afternoon shift, I began thinking about other themes, but for different reasons. To start, the most notable case I saw was the case that I wrote an article about. The case was about a man who had multiple counts of pimping minors for a sexual business. For starters, I didn’t know that pimping was still a thing and that the court charge it is listed under is verbatim, “Pimping.”
Nevertheless, this case also taught me to take detailed notes for all court cases I see, even if they don’t appear like they’re article-worthy. Having to go into the background of the defendant was not as interesting as including more details about the incident that got him there in the first place.
A separate theme that I started thinking about occurred after I moved to a separate department when my original department closed. The schedule was going normally, with arraignment, continuances, and assigning of public defenders.
At this point, a family member of mine saw the stream I was watching, and when the family member saw the defendant in court, he said, “Why do they have him all caged up like an animal, the hell?” As I tried to justify why they were behind bars in court, I couldn’t really come up with anything. Court’s safety? So they wouldn’t run? I still don’t know.
This change of perspective was only exacerbated by the court joking about what they’re going to do over the weekend as a man is in a cage hoping he’ll get out a week earlier than he’s supposed to. While I wouldn’t condone the outbursts that occur in court, I understand the annoyance that defendants may be facing and maybe they at least deserve to not be taken off the stream or muted completely if they voice their complaints with the court.
Whether I started thinking about my perspective in court differently because of this reflection or because it was just an interesting week for me is also something that I don’t know.