Atmore-area seniors participate in annual Law Day today
Published 2:20 pm Thursday, May 4, 2023
Atmore-area high school seniors participated in the annual Escambia County Law Day at the courthouse in Brewton on May 4.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958 to celebrate the role of law in society and the legal system. The local program, which has been around since the early 1980s, allows seniors from area schools to participate in a real criminal trial as jurors. Fourteen seniors were selected from the Atmore-area schools to serve as jurors.
Before the trial began, the program featured Guest Speaker and Lawyer Aaron Watson, Esq. or Pensacola, Fla.
Watson, who has spoken twice before on Law Day, said he was in the seniors’ shoes, and had dreams.
“I was most likely in the library, reading what I could to see what would stick,” Watson said.
Watson said at the end of the day, he’s a country boy. He recalled growing up and spending summers in Scooba, Miss.
He said he was taught the essentials in building a fire, and the necessity of using dry wood.
“Each one of you has a fire inside of you,” Watson said. “Some of the wood that’s the driest is when people tell you, ‘no.’”
Watson said the problem is when you tell yourself, “no,” that’s the green wood that will put out your fire.
Watson recalled when he was told “no” many times, and how he took the negative and turned it into a positive.
“When somebody tells you ‘no,’ go harder,” he said. “Keep that fire burning.”
The trial was for a possession of a controlled substance charge against Alexis D. Crenshaw, 24, of Atmore. She was arrested on April 24, 2023, on Jack Springs Road at a drivers license checkpoint near the Fastlane gas station after law enforcement officials found edibles inside of her vehicle, which she was borrowing.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Grosso presented the state’s case, and Attorney Kaurean Reynolds represented Crenshaw.
Circuit Judge Jeff White presided over the trial, and after swearing in the jurors, explained the process of the court proceedings.
The prosecution (state) and defense made opening statements, and each had an opportunity to present evidence through testimony and exhibit entries.
After the defense and prosecution filed motions – the defense filed a motion to acquit Crenshaw, and the prosecution moved to resume trial based on evidence – a 20-minute break was held and the jury was sent back to deliberate. White denied the defense’s motion.
The jury deliberated and found Crenshaw guilty. Possession of a controlled substance is a Class D felony, according to Alabama Code 13A-12-212.
Those who served as jurors included Judah Dennis, Breona Gaines, Daniel Gunaca, Tykeria Lambert, Aniya Redmond, D’Andre Richardson, Trinity Thames and Isabella McGee, Escambia County High School; Charles McGill and Tiffany Gookin, Escambia Academy; Justus Zundel, Elliot Classen, Garrett Harper and Sydney Mast, Atmore Christian School.