We had a tour of the Courthouse in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Our guide explained every detail on how the Courtroom proceedings were handled years ago.
Crimes varied from thefts to horse stealing and fights that got out of control. Some people that stayed in an inn did not pay their bill so the inn keeper took them to court. Stronger offenses were handled in a different court.
You would be judged by a jury of your peers and they would meet in a private room in the courthouse until their decision was reached. There was also a private room for the judge and lawyers to to meet in. The judge would hand down the sentence which could be very severe. You could be hung, branded for life or put in the stockade,etc. Your ears would be nailed to boards on the stockade. They would cut your ears open to remove the nails from your ears once your sentence was served out in full. If you were lucky you could work off your debt to society and not be scared for life.
The reason why we say pass the bar exam for future lawyers. The bar was the bar in front or the gate that opened in the front of the courtroom. The judge, lawyers, and jury would sit in that area. The people watching or the general public would sit back of the bar. So when you pass your bar exam you are a lawyer that has earned the right to sit up in front of the bar with the judge, other lawyers and jury.
On court days, lots of people would gather around the courthouse to participate in public affairs within their community. George Washington had been in the original courthouse in Williamsburg, Virginia to watch a trial.
Copyright 2019 Not to be reproduced in any form.