Senior's participate in Law Week
By By Lindsey Sherrill
On Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, seniors from five Escambia County high schools participated in Senior Law Week activities at the Escambia County Courthouse in Brewton. T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal High Schools attended the sessions on Thursday while Escambia County High School, Flomaton High School, and Escambia Academy attended on Friday.
Senior Law Week has occurred each May for over 20 years and has received state and national recognition from the Alabama Bar Association and the American Bar Association. The program is organized by the Escambia County Bar Association with the assistance of judges, law enforcement, and other Escambia County personnel.
Charles Godwin, a member of the Escambia County Bar Association and Law Week chairman for over 20 years, said that he sees the activities as "a very important experience for high school seniors." He adds, "It [Law Week] has been a consistently excellent program. We follow basically the same schedule every year and can really perfect the program."
Prior to Law Day, lawyers go to the respective schools and give a presentation to the seniors and a deputy serves the students with jury summons. On Law Day twelve students selected from the attending schools are placed on the jury. These students actually try the case, a real case in which sentencing has been agreed upon in advance. The verdicts of the student jury are binding.
Godwin underscores the importance of the student jury and student audience. "It helps them [the seniors] understand civic duty. It also gives them a chance to apply their academic study more and transfer it to reality."
Assisting with the activities on Friday were guest speaker Justice Lynn Stewart, Judge Joseph Brogden, and District Judge Dave Jordan. Jordan led a question and answer session with the students during the jury deliberations. Pepsi provided refreshments for the students.