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The Time-Honored Sound of a Bailiff's Cry

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The Time-Honored Sound of a Bailiff's Cry

The Time-Honored Sound of a Bailiff's Cry

The Time-Honored Sound of a Bailiff's Cry

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9724365/9724366" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Guilford County, N.C., Judge Joe Craig likes the sound of the bailiffs' cries in his courtrooms. He shares the sounds of three of them for our series, SoundClips.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Today's Sound Clip or audio snapshot features the human voice as it's used in a very specific setting.

Judge JOE CRAIG (Superior Court, Gilford County, North Carolina): My name is Joe Craig, and I'm a superior court judge in Gilford County, North Carolina. There are some sounds that have become an integral part of my daily routine, and although some sounds that are repetitive in my job really sort of fade into the background, there are some sounds that just can't be overlooked no matter how often I hear them.

For instance, every Monday morning when my work week begins, I walk into the courtroom, ascend the bench, and then I hear a time-honored chant.

Corporal MIKE BAKER(ph) (Bailiff, Superior Court, Gilford County, North Carolina): All stand, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. This honorable court is now open and sitting.

Judge CRAIG: Well, while the chants are repetitive, each bailiff has a different cadence and tone and volume, and I just think they're fascinating. The first chant that's done by Corporal Mike Baker is interesting because it definitely demonstrates his military background. He's a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, and once you hear him, there is no way you're going to disobey him.

Cpl. BAKER: All stand, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. This honorable court is now open and sitting for the dispatch of its business. God save the state and this honorable court. You may be seated.

Judge CRAIG: Theresa Simmons(ph), who called us back to court after our lunchtime recess, is very diminutive in size, but she's also got a very booming and authoritative voice.

Ms. THERESA SIMMONS (Bailiff, Superior Court, Gilford County, North Carolina): All stand, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. This honorable court has resumed the sitting for the dispatch of its business. God save the state and this honorable court.

Judge CRAIG: With her, there's sort of an insistence about it, like let's get back to work, and sit down, and shut up, and listen to the judge. And at the end of the week, I like to hear the soothing, dulcet baritone of Deputy Larry Collins(ph).

Deputy LARRY COLLINS (Bailiff, Superior Court, Gilford County, North Carolina): All stand please, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. This honorable court now stands adjourned sine die. God save the state and this honorable court.

Judge CRAIG: The last words that he said literally mean, in Latin, without a day or that we've adjourned for the week, and I just love it when they talk Latin.

SIEGEL: That's Guilford County, North Carolina Judge Joe Craig along with bailiffs Larry Collins, Theresa Simmons and Mike Baker. If your life is enriched by a sound, we'd like to hear about it. Go to npr.org and look up sound clips.

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