Local

May 18, 2012

Legal day helps children understand Law

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by Senior Airman C.J. Hatch
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Children listen to the testimony of a man accused of robbing a jewelry store May 9 during the 56th Fighter Wing Judge Advocate office law day. The children got an opportunity to see how the court system works. They also participated in a mock trial where they voted the accused guilty.

A thief robbed the Martinville jewelry store and thousands of dollars of merchandise disappeared thanks to a masked man. Police apprehended a man with the jewelry at the Martinville Hotel. (A jury of children will decide his fate.)

The 56th Fighter Wing Judge Advocate office celebrated law day May 9th. They invited children from the youth center to participate in a mock trial to get a feel for how the justice system works.

“Today’s case was the case of the missing jewels,” said Capt. Dakota Fiori, 56th Fighter Wing Judge Advocate attorney. “There was a robbery by a man wearing a handkerchief who got away with jewelry and $5,000 before the cops arrived.”

The scenario, while silly, helped the children better understand the court system.

“We usually have a law day like this the first part of May,” said Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Ebueng, 56th Fighter Wing Legal civil law NCO-in-charge. “We do this to raise awareness for the kids and help them understand how the court system works.”

The court proceedings were played out by the JA staff and gave the kids an opportunity to get involved. The children sat on the jury and listened to testimonies by people involved.

As the case played out, the children learned the man was seen the next day in the hotel by a detective who recognized his description. Police took the man into custody and searched him. They found all the jewelry in his bag and $5,000 in his possession.

“The man was brought to court, and the children sat on the jury,” Fiori said. “They heard testimonies from the detective who took the man in, bell hop and finally the man who was accused of the crime.”

During the testimonies, different pieces of information were given to help the children on the jury decide whether the man was guilty or not.

“One of the key points was the bag the man had the jewelry in,” Fiori said. “He claimed the bell hop gave him the wrong bag and his bag had a locking clasp with a key. The detective found no key on the man when he was taken in and the bell hop remembered the bag.”

The children took time to deliberate after all testimonies were given. In a undisputed vote all the children said the man was guilty, and the judge sentenced him to 11 months in jail.

“The key for the children was there was no key found on the man even though he claimed his bag had a lock,” Fiori said.

Afterward the children ate ice cream and had a chance to talk to and ask the JA staff  questions.

“I like doing this,” Ebuens said. “The children love it and always have a good time.”




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