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Reporter Notebook: The Serrano Sentencing
Two things stood out:
1.) The death penalty is rare enough in Washington County that a circuit court official told me that the court actually had to consult with Oregon's Attorney General to figure out how things like the "death warrant" was written, who wrote it, etc.
2.) There was actually one "light" moment this morning, before the proceedings really began. The prosecutors and defense attorneys were in the judge's chamber at 9:00, when the proceeding was scheduled to start. Serrano was sitting at the defense table by himself. His family and the victims' family sat within a few feet of each other. It was quiet and tense. Then we all heard someone say, faintly, "all rise." Everyone got up. But there was no judge walking into the courtroom and the attorneys were still gone. We quickly realized that what we were hearing was a bailiff speaking in the courtroom next door. It wasn't exactly funny, but everyone laughed — the reporters, the jurors who'd shown up to the proceeding, the deputies, even the two families.