Teens get their day in court | CraigDailyPress.com

Teens get their day in court

Law day educates, inspires students

A possibility of facing six months to four years in jail and fines of up to $100,000 was one thing some students in the high school’s American Government class knew they didn’t want. But students came to that realization by participating in Law Week on Wednesday, as part of a series of events that teaches students about the justice system.

“It makes it more real,” Moffat County High School junior Honee Tsosie said. “It’s not just something you see on TV.”

Watching the start of the legal proceedings in a criminal case in Moffat County Court on Wednesday also affected junior Michelle Workman.

“I just know I don’t want to be here,” Workman said.

Students in the class watched while Judge Mary Lynne James presided over the advisement of a man charged with a possession of methamphetamine.

“This is real,” James said.

Because of his history with the courts, James set the man’s cash bond at $20,000. News of the lofty amount visibly overwhelmed the man who appeared by closed-circuit television from the Moffat County Jail. He put his head in his hands and cried.

Later this week, students in the class will tour the jail, the Colorado State Patrol and listen to a lecture by law enforcement. The events are in connection with National Law Day, which was May 1.

At about this time of year, law enforcement and officials in the judicial system schedule events to educate students about the judicial system.

Methamphetamine abuse is the focus of this year’s theme. In years past, topics have included driving under the influence of alcohol and domestic violence.

For the first year, members of the Northwest Colorado Bar Association organized a breakfast Wednesday morning to educate the community on the judicial system.

“This is one of the things that makes our system truly unique,” Attorney Kris Hammond said at the event in a speech about jury trials. “This is one of the things I celebrate when I fly the flag.”

Some people aren’t aware that legal services are available to everyone, attorney Sandra Gardner said.

Moffat County Courts provide a clinic to give advice to people who want to serve as their own attorneys. A once-a-month session also is available for residents to receive limited legal advice.

“At some point in everyone’s life you come in contact with the justice system,” Gardner said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com

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