Monday, November 3, 2014

Western District of Washington Hosts Constitution Day

Consitution Day 2014 Gallery


The Federal Bar Association and the U.S. District Court hosted Constitution Day events in the Tacoma and Seattle Courthouses on September 16 and 17.  The two-hour program is designed for 5th grade classes and includes a courthouse tour, a visit by the U.S. Marshal's Service, and a mock trial conducted by the students.  District Judge Benjamin Settle hosted the event in Tacoma, while Magistrate Judge Theiler had the honors in Seattle.  For more information, contact Lori Landis at lori_landis@wawd.uscourts.gov or 206-370-8483.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Civics Contest Winners Recognized at Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

Civics Contest Essay Winners
Posing for pictures with Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski are, from left, Giovanna Mitchell, Megan Holett and Makena Ehnisz


The opening session of the 2014 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference proved to be a night to remember for three of the winners of a high school essay contest sponsored by the Courts and Community Committee and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Giovanna Mitchell of Santa Cruz took first place in the contest, which focused on the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  Makena Ehnisz and Daniel Orlov, both of Carmel, finished second and third, respectively, followed in fourth place by Megan Holett of Carmel Highlands. All of the winners received cash prizes and an invitation to the circuit conference, which was held July 14-17, 2014, in Monterey.

Monday, July 7, 2014

What's been happening in the Southern District of California

Community Outreach in the Southern District of California has been going strong all year. As the school year comes to a close, the number of programs held will also slow down. But in May and June and July, the Court hosted 13 separate events! From January- July, 2150 students have visited the court and learned about the federal judicial system. The highlight for court employees was undoubtedly the Bring a Child to Work Day events which were held on June 25, 2014 for kids 10 and over and on July 2, 2014 for kids 9 and younger. 150 children from the Court, Clerk’s Office, Probation, Pre-trial Services, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Defenders and the Marshals participated in events that were designed to help them understand what their parents do on a daily basis. Many volunteers from all the participating offices were necessary to coordinate these events and make them run smoothly. As usual, mock trials were the focal point of the event, enhanced by a marshals presentation. The older kids also enjoyed the opportunity to observe court and participate in jobs "speed-dating" besides having lunch with their sponsor. Feedback from all sides indicates the days were both a success and the children really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot.







Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Power Lunch" proves powerful in CASD

The truth is, we stole the idea for this event from the Central District of California...and we don't even feel a little bit guilty.  In fact, the Central District was very supportive of our desire to recreate their program here in the Southern District. And it was a HUGE success. On May, 8, 2014, 50 students from a local urban high school sat down to lunch with judges, prosecutors AND defenders to talk about the federal courts. They also talked about going to college and the law in general. The highlight of the event was a speech given by retired Magistrate Judge William McCurine about growing up in Chicago during segregation. The students were riveted as Judge McCurine discussed the choices he was making and the responsive decisions his parents made that changed his life. His emphasis on a good education, acknowleding a power (any power) greater than yourself, having a good work ethic and choosing friends who "give you wings instead of being anchors" made a lasting impression on everyone in the room. An added benefit of this Bench/Bar event was the opportunity for judges, prosecutors and defense counsel to meet outside the courtroom in an effort to promote a common goal...helping kids learn and mature into their best selves!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Welcoming our Youngest Citizens

On April 11, 2014, the Southern District of California was proud to host a naturalization celebration at the new United States Courthouse Annex  for 15 children ages 6-12. The master of ceremonies, USCIS ISO Veronica Esquivel, welcomed the children, their families and our honored guests. In attendance were Congresswoman Susan A. Davis and Representatives from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Congressman Darrell Issa and Congressman Scott Peters. Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz and District Judge Janis L. Sammartino represented the Judges of the Southern District of California. The Old Town Academy Choir, led by Mr. Anthony Kaneaster, performed several patriotic songs for the occasion. After the children were administered the Oath of Allegiance, they received Certificates commemorating the event. Cake and punch were served to all guests as part of the celebration. It was a moving and memorable experience for everyone in attendance.



 

April in the Southern District of California

April has been an amazingly busy month for community outreach in the Southern District of California. We hosted 5 separate events including a SECOND Open Doors to the Court event on April 14. In total, we welcomed over 330 students, ages 8-17, to the courthouse.  Students participated in mock trials, observed court proceedings, learned about the various jobs associated with the federal courts and how to manage credit wisely. The Marshals let the younger students try on equipment and see a holding cell. And of course, Ella, their explosives detecting canine was very popular. These programs were very well received by the students, teachers and parent chaperones who visited the court to learn more about their federal judiciary.  In addition to these in-court presentations, District Judge John Houston traveled to a local high school to teach 120 students about how cases travel through the court system.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

March in the Southern District of California



 
The Southern District of California hosted 4 separate events in March, welcoming over 400 students to the court.  On March 7 and March 12, 2014,  75 third grade students participated in the mock trial of Goldilocks. Magistrate Judge David Bartick, Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin and Bankruptcy Judge Chris Latham presided as these youngsters took on all the roles assisted by court staff and attorneys. After the mock trials, the U.S. Marshals showed the children holding cells and let them try on official Marshals gear.  The also learned about how explosives-sniffing canines do their job and had the opportunity to pet our own amazing doggie deputy

 On March 19, 2014, 315 high school seniors had the opportunity to participate in Open Doors to the Federal Court.  The program, which ran on 3 tracks, introduced these young adults to careers associated with the courts, gave them an understanding of how to use credit wisely and allowed them to participate in a mock trial about a teenager accused of trying to import marijuana across the border.  This scenario is one that is often seen in CASDs courtrooms and the realistic nature of the charges will hopefully help the students make better choices in their own futures.  10 of CASDs judges participated in this incredible educational event. It could not have been offered without the support of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Federal Defenders, Probation, Pretrial Services and the U.S. Marshals. By working together, we were able to offer these students an opportunity they could not have gotten anywhere else.