On an evening when the people coming into the Darien Town Court are a week removed from their initial arrest -- to be re-arraigned on the charges that got them locked up in the first place -- the tone is very different. Cases are handled quickly, there's few verbal challenges to the law or the court, and there's a lot less crying.
Quite and subdued would be an adequate description.
I returned to Darien Tuesday evening to follow up on the three defendants we encountered last week in Justice Gary Graber's court the night of the Kid Rock concert.
All three defendants -- Kenneth Koban, Peter H. Scrooby and Jamie E. Otto-Trott -- arrived in court at their appointed hour, well groomed and neatly dressed.
Graber wasn't on the bench Tuesday, being called away for a work-related emergency (he's a dispatcher for a trucking company in Buffalo), so Justice Michael Davis, newly elected last November, was sitting in.
While displaying the same sense of helpfulness -- wanting defendants to clearly understand their rights and legal options -- he takes a fairly matter-of-fact approach to getting a plea from the defendants and determining the date of their next court appearance.
Court started at 5:30 and I arrived at 5:35. By that time, Koban had pleaded guilty to trespass and was making arrangements with Court Clerk Marcia Bontrager to pay his fine.
After Koban hurried out of the court, Davis and I chatted a bit and then another defendant arrived -- a young man charged with a DWI unrelated to last Tuesday's concert. He was dressed in a suit and a tie as was his attorney. His appearance was perfunctory and then we were back to waiting for Scrooby and Otto-Trott.
Scrooby arrived soon after in pressed pants and a white, long-sleve shirt, accompanied by a slightly older gentleman.
After hearing again the charges against him -- disorderly conduct for allegedly fighting with Darien Lake security personnel -- Scrooby entered a not-guilty plea and said he would likely retain his own attorney.
He did complain about getting separated from the cash in his pocket the night of his arrest and wondered why it was not returned with the rest of his personnel effects after he made bail. Instead,it was offered to him in a phone call 15 minutes after he was heading home on the Thruway.
Davis explained that he didn't know anything about how Scrooby's property was handled and that was really a matter to take up with the Genesee County Jail.
Once Scrooby's next court appearance was set for July 28 at 6 p.m., Scrooby started to leave, but then remembered another question for Davis: Since Scrooby now had proof of identity, could his bail money be returned? Davis said that wasn't possible until the final dispostion of his case.
While Scrooby finished up his case, Anthony F. Perno, also arrested the night of the Kid Rock concert, stepped before Justice Davis.
Perno didn't take long to let it be unknown that he didn't understand why he was in court.
"I was hauled in here and accused of something I didn't do," Perno said.
The 39-year-old Rochester resident is charged with harassment, accused of fighting with a security guard in the VIP area of the concert venue.
His frustration was heightened because he thought he had been arraigned Tuesday night and expected this week's appearance to afford him an opportunity to talk with a district attorney about his charges.
He told Davis he intended to bring his own attorney for his next court appearance, and Davis told him that would be July 28. Perno wanted to put it off for a month because he works two jobs and thought only one-week's notice for taking time off for a court appearance wasn't satisfactory his bosses.
Davis held firm on the July 28 date, but set his appearance time for 7 p.m.. Perno said the later time did help.
As Perno's case wrapped up, Otto-Trott checked in with the clerk. She appeared in slacks and a white blouse, looking far less disheveled than she did last week. A young woman accompanied her and sat in a folding chair the back row of the court room.
Otto-Trott, facing two counts of harassment, told Justice Davis that she had decided to seek the help of a public defender, so Davis entered a plea of not guilty for her and set her next court appearance for July 30 at 6 p.m..
With the Otto-Trott case handled, the court room once again fell silent. I walked up to the bench to ask Davis a few questions.
That's when I learned he was only recently elected to his first term, but that his father served as town justice three decades earlier, and in fact, served for a time with Graber.
"I sometimes get lawyers who come in and say, 'I remember when your dad was a judge,' and I say, 'that must have been 30 or 35 years ago,' and they go, 'thanks for putting a date on it.'"
Like Graber, Davis also works in the trucking industry. He dispatches and drives for Walton Milk Hauling in Alexander. He credits both Graber and the state for providing him valuable training on being a town justice.