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Judicial Branch Celebrates Law Day 2002

The Connecticut Judicial Branch celebrated Law Day (May 1) with ceremonies in the Supreme Court courtroom and with judges speaking at their high school alma maters.

With Supreme Court Justices in attendance, the day began with a ceremony in the high court honoring the Statewide Grievance Committee and members of the local grievance panels. More than forty members were presented with certificates from Chief Justice William J. Sullivan, who praised the members, "…for volunteering their time and for the sincere commitment on their part." The President of the Connecticut Bar Association, Barbara J. Collins, also lauded those cited. The Committee and the grievance panels investigate allegations of misconduct of attorneys subject to the jurisdiction of the Superior Court.

The honorees were feted at a reception after the ceremony in the Museum of Connecticut History’s Memorial Hall.

The Law Day activities continued in the afternoon. For the first time in its 25 years of existence, the Annual High School Mock Trial competition was held in the Supreme Court courtroom with Chief Justice William J. Sullivan, Associate Justice Joette Katz, and Associate Justice Richard N. Palmer judging the close competition.

Chief Justice Sullivan commented, "I believe we are in the presence today of some quality lawyers in the near future." Justice Katz remarked…"these students do not receive the same glory as high school athletes, but the mock trial teams put in every bit as much time and effort." Conard High School of West Hartford was declared a split decision winner over Xavier High School of Middletown. Justice Palmer said he had witnessed a mock trial many years ago and was amazed at the high caliber of the students. "But," he added, "if possible, you have exceeded that standard today. It was difficult for us to choose a winner. As far as we are concerned, both teams are winners."

The justices also congratulated more than 80 attorney coaches and Superior Court Judge Julia L. Aurigemma who worked with the high school teams explaining legal concepts and trial procedures to the students. About 700 students from 57 Connecticut high school teams took part in this year’s competition, sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association and the Connecticut Consortium for Law and Citizenship Education.

The mock trial competition consists of students "trying" a hypothetical case, with one school acting out the prosecution and the other school acting out the defense. Students also act as attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs, and timekeepers.

Also during Law Day, judges traveled to their high school alma maters addressing students about the judicial process. Some of the high schools rolling out red carpets for their prestigious alumni were Fairfield Prep, Bristol Central, Warren Harding, Trinity Catholic, Ledyard, East Catholic and Bridgeport Central. Several judges selected alternate dates to visit their high schools.

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