American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters Law Day 2014
Bristol Courthouse Reinstates Law Day Ceremony BRISTOL—It didn’t take much for Deputy Chief Clerk Laura Leigh to
convince Judge Hunchu Kwak to hold a Law Day Ceremony at the GA-17
Courthouse. Not only did she convince Judge Kwak that holding these
festivities would be good for those who use and work at the Courthouse but
it would also be good for the community.
Next thing Judge Kwak knew, the
day was organized and Secretary of State Denise Merrill had agreed to
"I thought it went really great," Kwak said afterwards. "I’m glad
that Laura suggested it."
The Secretary of State’s appearance amplified
the year’s national Law Day theme: American Democracy & the Rule of Law: Why
Every Vote Matters.
"The American Bar Association chose voting as its
theme for two very important reasons," said Merrill. "For one thing, it’s
the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 this year and next year
it’s the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which I was around
to see passed. It was an incredible moment in our history because it
realized the right that African-Americans came into after the Civil War."
It was indeed a celebratory event filled with music and a large family
gathered to cheer on the Liberty Bell Award winner, Judicial Marshal Robert
The local St. Joseph Music Ministry choir opened the
proceedings with a song after introductions by Attorney Michael F. Romano,
President of the Greater New Britain Bar Association. Attorney Elisa Villa,
Supervising Public Defender read the Law Day proclamation and then Atty.
Alfonzo Sirica, Public Defender, read a proclamation from Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne.
After Merrill’s remarks, Senior State’s Attorney Ronald Dearstyne presented the Liberty Bell
Award to Dinunzio and said, "He’s truly a valuable asset to the Courthouse
Dinunzio, who recounted that he thought he was in trouble
when Judge Kwak summoned him to his chambers a few weeks ago, was pleasantly
surprised when he was told that he would be honored.
"I am overwhelmed
and honored to receive this award in front of those I work with every day
and those who come to visit this courthouse," said Dinunzio. "It is very
special and I am particularly happy that a large part of my family is
gathered here today."
The Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy Band
played the Prelude to the ceremony then joined with the St. Joseph Music
Ministry to close the proceedings.
"I hope that we can continue to
recognize Law Day each year," said Leigh. "It’s a great way to bring the
local bar, court employees and the community together."