What it’s like to be in court

The sitting of the circuit court began between nine and ten. The programme of the day was promptly entered upon, with noticeable haste. The cases came on one after another and ended quickly, like a church service without a choir, so that no mind could form a complete picture of all this parti-coloured mass of faces, movements, words, misfortunes, true sayings and lies, all racing by like a river in flood … By two o’clock a great deal had been done: two prisoners had been sentenced to service in convict battalions, one of the privileged class had been sentenced to deprivation of rights and imprisonment, one had been acquitted, one case had been adjourned.

From In the Court (1886) by Anton Chekhov

Remarkable. This description of a Russian courtroom in the late 1880s could be used to describe a New York courtroom today. Except maybe for the “service in convict battalions.”

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