The Southern District of California has been very busy in the Community Outreach Department in February. Besides Judge Miller's and Judge Major's presentations which were previously reported, CASD judges presented on 3 other occasions.
On February 21, 2014, Magistrate Judge William Gallo presided over a mock trial of 2 students accused of selling fireworks at the District Court. 4th grade students from a local elementary school took on all the roles. The prosecutors were assisted by AUSA Jill Burkhardt and defense counsel were assisted by Sandra Hourani of Federal Defenders of San Diego. After finding the 2 defendants guilty, the students learned about the U.S. Marshals service and got to meet our bomb sniffing canine and her handler, Deputy Marshal Joanne Boyd. The students, teacher and parent chaperones were very impressed with the presentation indicating that it exceeded their expectations. The teacher thanked the courts for "supporting civics education in public schools, especially at the elementary level."
On February 25, 2014, District Judge John Houston traveled to a local middle school and talked to 100 eighth grade students about the federal courts and how a case travels through the court system to the U.S. Supreme Court. These students had recently studied the U.S. Constitution and had the opportunity to ask Judge Houston general questions about the courts, as well as questions about specific cases over which he had presided.
Then, on February 26, 2014, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Margaret Mann visited a local high school to talk about her career and the path she took to become a bankruptcy judge. A panel of students asked Judge Mann questions about the bankruptcy process and Judge Mann explained the risks and benefits of taking out student loans to pay for college. The students and Judge Mann discussed the various types of bankruptcy filings and statistics on the most prevalent issues being litigated in US Bankrutcy Courts.