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Law Day 2004 Celebration
Awards Ceremony, Mock Trial
"To Win Equality by Law: Brown vs. Board at 50"

The Connecticut Supreme Court will honor the achievements of 20 African-Americans as part of its celebration of Law Day 2004:"To Win Equality by Law: Brown vs. Board at 50."


"Every year, during Law Day, the Connecticut Supreme Court recognizes a group of individuals who epitomize our great heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law," Chief Justice William J. Sullivan said. "The Law Day 2004 theme is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. In connection with this theme, the Connecticut Supreme Court has chosen to honor these 20 distinguished individuals, who exemplify the legacy of the Brown decision through their notable achievements in Connecticut."

The ceremony is scheduled for Monday, May 3, 2004, at 2 p.m. in the Supreme Court courtroom, located at 231 Capitol Ave. in Hartford. Cameras will be allowed.

Those being honored include: the Hon. Boce Barlow; Ms. Adrianne Baughns-Wallace; Mr. Edgar F. Beckham; Dr. David G. Carter; Dr. Edythe J. Gaines; Mr. Gerald A. Lamb; Attorney John F. Merchant; Mr. Thirman L. Milner; the Hon. Flemming L. Norcott Jr.; Mr. Maxie Patterson; Col. Joseph A. Perry Jr.; Mr. John B. Stewart Jr.; the Hon. Alvin W. Thompson; the Hon. Thomas G. West; and Mrs. Katherine Wyrick.

Additionally, posthumous awards will be given to Mr. Thurston Fields; the Hon. Robert D. Glass; Mr. Wilfred Johnson; the Hon. Robert L. Levister; and Mr. Clifford Willis. More information

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court – led by Chief Justice Earl Warren – ended federally sanctioned racial segregation in public schools. With a unanimous ruling, the justices overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson, an 1896 case that held as constitutional "separate but equal facilities."

"The significance of Brown vs. Board of Education cannot be overstated," Chief Justice Sullivan said. "While we still have much work ahead of us in the area of racial equality, Brown vs. Board of Education provides a roadmap for generations to come."

Stamford, Hall High Compete in Mock Trial Competition
The Law Day celebration will continue into Tuesday, May 4, 2004, as students from Stamford High School and West Hartford’s Hall High School square off during this year’s Connecticut High School Mock Trial Competition.

The competition will begin at 2:30 p.m. and conclude at about 4:30. It will be held in the Supreme Court courtroom at 231 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Cameras will be allowed during an awards ceremony that precedes the competition but not during the actual competition.

Three justices of the Connecticut Supreme Court – Justice Joette Katz, Justice Richard N. Palmer, and Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille – will hear arguments from the students and decide on the winner.

The case the students will argue involves the fictional case of State of New Justice vs. Terry C. Jackson. In the case, a high school student who left campus for lunch is charged with negligent homicide after one of the passengers in his car is killed in an accident.

Students on the Stamford High School team are: Dane Rogol, Micah Kosstrin-Greenberg, Meredith Hackman, Emma Doody, Nitesh Banta, Jenny Magyari, Carolina Lescano, Nathan Soffio, Natalia Senatore, Dan Blank, Shiv Prakash, and Josh Green.

Students on the Hall High School team are: Sarah Cooney, Jennifer Hernandez, Dan Streim, Rachel Holtzberg, Stephanie Donatelli, Eric Merin, Lalita Bumpen, Katie Taylor, Dan Salton, and Sarah Robertson.

The Connecticut Consortium for Law and Citizenship Education Inc., the Connecticut Bar Association and the Connecticut Judicial Branch are sponsoring the competition. This is the third consecutive year that the high school finals have been held at the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The awards ceremony for the students will be at 1:45 p.m. and last about a half-hour. Speakers will include: Chief Justice Sullivan; James Schmidt, executive director of the Consortium for Law and Citizenship Education; attorney John Hogan, president of the Connecticut Bar Association; and Jennifer Lewis Donahue, president of the Consortium for Law and Citizenship Education.

"We are pleased to once again co-sponsor this event," Chief Justice Sullivan said. "These young people are extremely talented, and I would rank the job of choosing the winner as among the toughest we face all year."

Appellate Court Visits Litchfield High
Meanwhile, the Connecticut Appellate Court will head to Litchfield High School on Friday, April 30, 2004, to hear arguments in two cases – one criminal and one civil.

Students from Litchfield High School will attend the arguments, which will be held in the Litchfield Intermediate School auditorium, located on the high school campus. Appellate Court Judges Anne C. Dranginis, Thomas G. West, and Alexandra D. DiPentima will comprise the panel.

  • Arguments in the first case, Malloy vs. Town of Colchester, will start at 9:30 a.m.

  • The second case, State vs. Abraham, will start at 10:30 a.m.

At the conclusion of arguments in each case, attorney Judith Dixon, president of the Litchfield County Bar Association, will moderate a question-and-answer session between the students and lawyers involved in the cases.

Cameras are permitted during the question and answer sessions, but not during arguments or while the court is in session.

Other Activities also in conjunction with Law Day:

  • Ten judges are scheduled to visit high schools throughout the state to speak about the impact of Brown vs. Board of Education.

  • Ceremonies and other events will take place in Judicial District courthouses throughout the state in celebration of Law Day.

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