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Students to decide burglary, drug cases

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster Managing editor
Guilty or not guilty will be the verdicts high school seniors in Escambia County will announce during this week's Law Day Program.
Pegged as one of the most unique Law Day programs in the nation, students from six high schools in the county will have the opportunity to participate in actual court cases tried in the Circuit Court of Escambia (Ala.) County.
The students will be involved in actual prosecutions defended by those who are actually charged with the offenses tried, and they will sit in the jury and determine the outcome.
The program will begin on Thursday, May 5, when seniors from W.S. Neal and Flomaton high schools and Escambia Academy will determine the outcome of a burglary case. Beginning at 9 a.m., Circuit Judge Joseph B. Brogden will deliver an explanation of case introduction.
Robert C. Hazley, charged with burglary, will be the defendant.
District Judge J. David Jordan will address the burglary statutes beginning at 11:30 a.m. followed by a question and answer period. The jury will hear the closing remarks at noon and deliver a verdict.
On Friday, May 6, seniors from T.R. Miller High School and Escambia County High School will deliver a verdict for a drug case. Circuit Judge Bradley E. Byrne will deliver the explanation of court personnel and trial of drug case at 9 a.m. District Judge Jordan will address the drug statutes at 11:30 a.m. Closing remarks will be made at noon.
Demetrious Barton, charged with possession of marijuana, will be the defendant.
The students who do not sit on the jury will have the opportunity to sit in a question and answer session, as well as observe the trials.
The Honorable Sue Bell Cobb is a judge currently serving on the Court of Criminal Appeals and will be the guest speaker on Thursday. The Honorable Lyn Stuart is the associate justice currently serving on the Supreme Court of Alabama and will be the guest speaker on Friday.
Students will be seated in the courtroom by 8:30 a.m. The cases will be prosecuted by District Attorney Stephen Billy and Assistant District Attorney James Michael Perry. Local attorneys Earnest R. White and Jeffrey Todd Stearns will be the defending attorneys.
The program has lasted 25 years and has won national honors by the American Bar Association and recognition by the Alabama State Bar. The program was developed to help prepare the students in becoming responsible citizens as they graduate from high school.