Homeless court comes to Oakland’s Society

Rows of homeless and low-income defendents fan the heat of a Friday afternoon away while waiting to be called to the stand. The state seal of California provide some officiality to the cumbersome, shabby scene inside community center of St. Vincent DePaul. An occasional uproar of applause is released as a case file is shut and a defendent walks away free of from thousands of dollars of fines.

This is Alameda’s County Homeless Court. A dozen public defenders, court staff and case workers feverishly work together to present low-income individuals cases before an official judge. The common mission is to help these defedents overcome legal barriers like misdeameanors, moving violations, court fines and fees that hinder  their ability to move their lives forward.

Weeks of preparation document defendents’  income, housing, employment, education, parenting, substance abuse recovery, personal growth and community service as progress in exchange of a financial payment. In the end, everyone who made an appearance was let off the hook–but not without a speech from the Judge Gordon Branco to not make the same mistakes in the future.


Leave a comment

Filed under San Francisco, St. Vincent DePaul Center

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s