In Manhattan, defendants in criminal court have the right to be silent, to an attorney -- and to be blogged about. At least, they do when New York Post photojournalist Steven Hirsch is there with his camera, snapping stylish pictures of defendants who submit to his questions and agree to be documented. The results are fascinating: an almost anthropological study of New York's least-publicized denizens, in which they tell their own stories in their own words -- and often leaving out the most incriminating bits (naturally). Here are a few of our favorite Courthouse Confessions.
Nina Montanez, Assault
It was self defense, he hit me first and I hit him. I was walking down the street and you know he made a comment about my body and then i said your mother, tried to be slick. And he hit me and I hit him. My butt whatever. Yeah. He called the police. He hit me. I cracked his head. He just gave me a black eye and I cracked his head up with my phone. Then he called the police and I waited for the police and I figured they was going to arrest both of us since I waited and they wound up arresting me. And he never showed up to court today.
I guess I was drunk. I'm a woman. If you want to approach me you talk to me a different way. You know what I mean? You don't talk to someone, you don't try to get somebody's number by saying you got a big butt or nice breasts. You know what I mean. I'm a grown woman. I don't like disrespect.
Devon Jackson, Second Degree Robbery
My name is Devon Jackson and um I got involved in a second degree robbery three years ago and ever since then my life completely changed like even my own parents don't even look at me the same no more. Its like I'm an outsider to my whole family so every time I look at into someone's eyes they look at me different ... its not the same no more and its crazy because that fifteen minutes of that robbery is probably going to change the rest of my life. If I had the chance to turn back the hands of time man I would I would I would see myself putting the knife down not even joining the same people I was always running with.
I robbed it was about a regular white male, about thirty five thirty six years old coming down Central Park West. Its was about eight nine o'clock at night nobody around we decided to go and just do it. Nothing planned, we just did it. It was just like that. It was shocking like it was surprising cause as myself thats not even my personality, like my personality I like sports and I wouldn't even see I couldn't even see myself holding that knife up to this guys face it was like I could see the reflection in his eyes and looked at him. I was scared too as I was doing it so as I did it it was just when I came when I got back in the house and the Police knocked at my door man it was like my heart dropped straight to my feet. I couldn't breathe for like ten minutes, so that whole feeling its not cool. Its not cool at all. Fifteen or twenty minutes could change somebody's whole life forever.
Jason, Traffic Violation
I'm here because the NYPD pulled me over for a trafficking violation and its like an harassment and this is the things you have to go through but its you know this is New York. I work for a rap label, I don't have any time to be here. But this is what we have to do. I definitely have a BB Simon, six hundred, the shades are Valentino, six hundred, thats like twelve hundred and uh you know this is just to come to court, I gotta go through this. I mean you know the pictures you can check it out, examine it. Bring it to your nearest store. They'll tell you all about it. My belt is six hundred. My belt is BB Simon. Six Hundred dollars. I mean if if you can't afford leave it alone, get away from it. ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.