Local youths get a look at the judicial system

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On Monday morning, Mike Harville stepped into the Suffolk Circuit court for the first time.

The 10-year-old swore it would be the last.

&uot;I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do so I won’t get in trouble,&uot; said the Kilby Shores Elementary School student. &uot;I learned where people sit and where a jury sits. I’ve never learned that before.&uot;


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He was one of about 20 young members of the Growing Up at Obici childcare program who visited the court to learn about the basics of the local legal system.

Using a Bingo-type game called Court (Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips

Ferguson’s smiling face beamed out from the free block in the center of the board),

Diana L. Klink, community outreach coordinator for the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, helped the youngsters learn about law.

&uot;C-16,&uot; she called out, naming the next number in the game. After a few students called out that they’d won, Klink detoured into a bit of trivia.

&uot;Who sits there, in front of the judge?&uot; she asked, pointed to a chair with a makeshift typewriter in front of it. After a few kids incorrectly thought it was the jury box or the witness stand, Klink told them about the court reporter.

&uot;A court reporter sits there and types everything the judge says and everything the witnesses say,&uot; she said. &uot;She can type about 200 words a minute!

&uot;The clerk sits next to the judge,&uot; Klink said. &uot;In Suffolk, our clerk is Randy Carter, and he’s a constitutional officer, which means he was elected by the people to represent them.&uot;

It marked the third time that the Obici group had made a visit to Klink’s workplace, she said.

&uot;We wanted to do something different,&uot; she said. &uot;This way, they can play Bingo and learn something at the same time.

&uot;This is part of our Crime Free School program, where we go into schools and teach the children, or have them come in here and learn something.&uot;

According to some of the other students, it worked.

&uot;There are 12 people over there,&uot; said Casey Williams, 8, pointing to the jury box. &uot;They decide if a person is innocent or not. I learned that the judge listens to what everyone’s saying.&uot;

Lindsay Ransome hoped a judge would never have to hear her case.

&uot;Court is a very serious thing,&uot; said the Oakland Elementary School student.

&uot;I learned that if you’re 14 or over, you can go to the big court, and then you can go to jail. I’m going to follow the law.&uot;