Last month, Summit eighth-graders participated in an exciting opportunity through the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, called CourtWorks. The CourtWorks program partners law student volunteers with middle school students to facilitate a mock trial process. The CourtWorks program was designed by Ninth Circuit Court Judge Mary H. Murguia and was brought to Summit through Richard Suzuki of Suzuki Law Offices.

“CourtWorks is a multi-partnership program designed to introduce eighth-graders to the judicial system and create a context for a professional career in law.  It also serves to bring the community to the courthouse. The children participated in a mock trial, in which local attorney volunteers were assigned to sit beside a “student attorney” or a “student Judge” and help them with their role during the mock trial. Following the mock trial, students gathered in the Jury Assembly Room for a general assembly. Judge Murguia, as well as volunteers from US Probation, US Pretrial Services, and the US Marshals Service, gave a short presentation on their role in the courthouse.  This was the 15th year of the program.” –Kristen Parris, Judicial Assistant to the Honorable Mary H. Murguia

On November 1, 2019 Summit’s eighth-grade class visited the Sandra Day O’Connor courthouse to host their internal mock trial in one of the courtrooms. Students were assigned various roles for the mock trial and prepared their cases in class. We were thrilled to watch this process come to life in the courtroom.

“I believe that the CourtWorks program provided an excellent opportunity for our Summit 8th-grade kids to understand the importance of the juridical system by experiencing firsthand the importance of a person’s rights and the proper due process. I saw the kids work hard on their court presentations and had a lot of fun. It was interesting that some of the students are now interested in becoming a prosecutor or criminal defense attorney.”  –Richard J. Suzuki

During the weeks leading up to the mock trial, law student volunteers, Caleb and Hilary, came to Summit once per week to facilitate and assist students with the process as they focused complexities of the 4th Amendment. 

The CourtWorks program, our law student volunteers, and Summit are dedicated to providing students with this intellectually stimulating project designed to improve their public speaking, critical thinking, and logical reasoning skills.

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