This past Thursday, we drove to Rogersville to meet Michael Faulk at the oldest courthouse in Tennessee. We were preparing to shoot some video for his new project and were to stage a mock trail to capture a few images and conduct an interview with one of his clients.
I’ve taken photos of this old courthouse many times in my life and my mother and father eloped to this location back in the late ’50s. It was built in 1836 and has been the county seat and settler of many arguments and disputes for over 160 years. This was our first visit indoors.
The old doors to the courthouse must be 10 ft tall and are heavy to open and immediately inside the front door are two stairs on each side that go to the top where the formal courtroom sits atop the Circuit Court offices that reside on the first.
At the top of the stairs, I was met by several people smoking cigarettes. That was odd. I didn’t think there was a government building in the US that allowed smoking indoors and it was kind of unusual to experience this along with the chap who was in between sessions and telling his wife he needed to go home and get a loritab.
The courtroom has large pane windows on each side, much like a church (which it resembles) and the judge sits back on the south side of the building with the jury box facing west. There were a couple cases being heard and one involved the child abuse charges against a young thirteen year old who had a 2 pack a day habit. A couple of other assault cases were on the stand and although it was interesting, I’d hate to have to sit and listen to all the trouble each and every day.
Charter Media was there taping too. Nathan Anderson and an assistant named David had a big Sony camera and our little Mini DV seemed like a toy in contrast to the big gear these guys were toting around.
The judge took a break and Faulk gathered a couple of the courthouse clerks and a few people sat in the jury as we panned the cameras around and tried to grab footage without audio. We got some fair shots, but what impressed me the most was the way that old gavel sounded on the bench! (Click the link to here the sound) Nathan got Judge Hubert Holcombe to bang the gavel and it was amazing to hear the thud of that mallet and imagine the decisions that it closed in that antique room.
A little later, we met and interviewed Renee Trent whose son feel from the bleachers in a Hawkins County School and suffered a fractured skull from an unfortunate incident where he fell during a ball game. Tragic story and she was very sincere with her confidence in Michael Faulk. That was clear to us too as we walked around the courtroom, Faulk seems to be a man of great character and we’re glad to represent him.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO OUTTAKES
Quicktime Movie File: 9.1 mb