Students Go “Behind The Scenes” During
Anne Arundel’s Schools in the Courts Program
(ANNAPOLIS, MD — November 6, 2006) More than 100 Anne Arundel County teenagers have a court date on Wednesday, November 8, but they’ll be coming to court with teachers, not attorneys. The juniors and seniors from four county high schools will get an up-close view of the state’s justice system in action in the Anne Arundel District Court as part of the biannual “Schools in the Courts” program.
Students from Annapolis, Arundel, Broadneck, and North County high schools will sit in on live, actual criminal cases heard before District Court Judge Vincent A. Mulieri as part of the three-hour program, which is designed to educate students about the legal system while warning them about the consequences of making the wrong choices – namely drinking and driving, drug use, and other crimes.
“We don’t do anything different when the students are there than we do on any other day in the courtroom,” Judge Mulieri said. “Each defendant is sentenced based on the facts and the students see the consequences of their actions, including getting handcuffed and sent to jail in the appropriate cases. The courtroom gets real quiet when that happens.”
After watching actual criminal cases, the students will hear from Leslie Thomas, of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and they will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of District Court Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn and Kevin M. Maxwell, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for Anne Arundel County. They will learn about the requirements of probation and the financial burden of being convicted of drunk driving from Don Kumer of the Department of Parole and Probation, and hear from Anne Arundel County Police Officer T.J. Bathros and Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Andrews. The students will also hear first-person accounts of drinking and driving.
The Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Board of Education will tape the speakers during the program, and the program will be aired on Anne Arundel County Public Schools Television Channel 96 on both the Comcast and Millennium cable systems. Anne Arundel County residents with cable access will be able to view the program from their homes. Broadcast times will be posted on the AACPS Web site: www.aacps.org.
The RESPECT Foundation, an area organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and prevention of alcohol abuse, is underwriting the transportation costs for the Schools in the Court program on November 8.
The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a showing of the DVD “Branded DUI,” with questions answered by Judge Yvette Diamond of the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, who was instrumental in the creation of the video.
The Schools in the Court will be held from 8:30 a.m. to approximately noon on Wednesday, November 8. Members of the media are encouraged to attend. Please contact the Court Information Office at 410-260-1488 in advance if you want to attend or have questions about when and where cameras will be permitted.