Judicial Education Program
1. TOURS OF THE COURT. Large groups of children are divided into smaller groups of ten (10) to twenty (20). Each group is then led around the judicial center by a local attorney. They stop briefly at the probate court, magistrate court, district attorney’s office, clerk of superior court, and county law library, and then assemble in a Superior Court courtroom where a Superior Court judge will address the group and answer their questions. Someone at each of the courts and clerk’s office is prepared to speak briefly to each group as they pass through. Information provided by each speaker is tailored to the age level of the students. These tours typically last about an hour which enables classes to come from any school in the county and return with minimal interruption of their usual routine. Local attorneys are eager to provide assistance since this requires no more than an hour of their time.
2. ATTENDANCE AT COURT PROCEEDINGS. Although classes are allowed to attend jury trials, they are typically encouraged to view criminal arraignments, probation hearings, and nonjury civil proceedings which are held every week. Care is taken to assure that no inappropriate cases are presented, e.g., child molestation or sex related crimes. Jail cases are called first to allow the students to see male and female inmates in prison garb and handcuffs. As presiding judge, I typically recognize children and emphasize the seriousness of the proceedings before the first case is called. The feedback from teachers and school administrators has been very positive based upon the impression made on these students.
PLEASE NOTE– You should confer with the teachers who will accompany the children to court concerning whether a family member of any student is in confinement locally or is facing criminal charges. Every effort must be made to avoid a child witnessing a relative being brought before the Court for a criminal matter. Please call my office if this occurs and we will be sure to keep the child’s relative at the jail until long after the children have left.
3. SPEAKER PROGRAM. I can arrange for a speaker concerning any court or law related topic. These speakers include local attorneys, judges and other court officials. Topics may range from juvenile courts and juvenile law, criminal law, drugs, or local courts to the state and federal courts. Teachers may contact my office when a speaker is needed. I would need information concerning the age and size of the group and the current level of understanding of the students to assure maximum benefit from this experience.
4. SHADOWING OF COURT PERSONNEL. Selected students are allowed to spend a day with a judge, attorney, legal secretary, court reporter or court clerk to become better acquainted with the profession as a possible career choice. This is of particular benefit to disadvantaged students who would otherwise never have any contact with these professionals to enable them to learn about their respective professions. I can also arrange for court personnel to come to your school for career day.
5. OTHER RESOURCES. Pamphlets provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts are distributed to the teachers to share with their students in their follow-up discussions of the event in which they have participated. Copies of other publications from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia concerning local governments in Georgia are also available to the teachers and administrators following the tours and other events. Videotapes and DVD’s concerning Georgia juvenile courts and the prosecution of youthful offenders in Georgia are also made available through my office to teachers and civil groups.
Newton County Judicial Center
Walton County Government Building