President Obama’s Uncle Giggles in Framingham Court During OUI Hearing

President Barack Obama’s uncle, charged last month in Framingham, appeared amused in Framingham District Court by the number of journalists there to cover his OUI hearing, the Boston Herald reports.

Onyango Obama, 67, was arrested last month and charged with OUI after he allegedly nearly hit a police cruiser with his SUV after making a rolling stop through a stop sign. As the Massachusetts DUI Attorney Blog reported, some media outlets have asserted that Obama’s uncle is in the country illegally. When it comes to immigrants, the smart move would be to check whether a DUI conviction — either through a plea or a conviction at trial — will affect a person’s right to live in the country.
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Either way, you should aggressively fight an OUI charge in Framingham or throughout the Boston area because a conviction has many consequences beyond the court penalties.

Onyango Obama made a brief appearance recently in Framingham District Court, where his judge set a Nov. 17 pre-trial conference in the case. Neither Obama nor his attorneys would comment to the media before or after the hearing.

The Herald reports that he and a friend giggled while sitting in the front row of the court as media members assembled for the hearing. The courtroom was packed, but mainly with other defendants awaiting arraignment.

The Herald reports that Onyango Obama had a valid driver’s license and Social Security card at the time of arrest, but was in the country illegally having faced a 1992 deportation order. Immigration officials have told him to “check in” with them.

He is charged with suspicion of drunken driving; it was reported that his first call was to the White House. But one of the President’s spokesman said the call was never made. Rather, it went to his boss at Conti’s Liquors in Framingham.

While courtroom behavior and attire shouldn’t make or break a defendant’s case, it can influence how a judge treats a defendant. In this case, it appears Obama was chuckling at the thought that all those television and newspaper cameras were there to document a simple, unexciting 5-minute hearing for a DUI charge.

When the media are involved in covering a court hearing, it can put undue pressure on defendants judges and attorneys alike. It is important that defendants act and dress respectfully at all times in front of the cameras and the judge.

While the judge is called on to make decisions based on the facts and the law, they are human, too. If a defendant is acting inappropriately or in a way that tends to mock the criminal justice system or the judge, it can be bad for the defendant. While a judge can’t sentence someone to more than the law allows, they do have enough discretion to make a defendant’s life miserable.

This may not always happen, but courtroom behavior and attitude are important. A defendant should not speak in court unless their attorney advises them to speak and they should not react negatively to what prosecutors, the judge or witnesses say.

Being in court can be an emotional time. But it is best to remain calm and allow your Massachusetts DUI lawyer guide you through the process.

The Law Offices of Michael DelSignore are conveniently located in Stoughton, Attleboro, New Bedford and Westborough.

More Blog Entries:

President Obama’s Uncle Charged with OUI in Framingham, Massachusetts: August 30, 2011
Additional Resources:

President’s illegal uncle giggles in court, by John Zaremba, Boston Herald

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