Students learn about court processes

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2022

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High school seniors from across the county were part of a two-day presentation of Law Day. The annual event returned this year after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, students from W.S. Neal High School, T.R. Miller High School and Flomaton High School were in attendance at the Escambia County Courthouse to hear a case involving a Brewton woman who was arrested on possession of drug charges.
Throughout the case, students heard from Attorney Joe Whitt who was the voice of the State in the case with defending Attorney Wade Hartley.
Each of the attorney’s presented the case against the subject who had been charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana II.
After the jury and alternates had been seated, Circuit Judge Jeff White explained what the members of the jury were expected to accomplish at the end of the presentation of evidence. Once the evidence from both sides had been presented, White further instructed members of the jury on their job to find the defendent guilty or not guilty of the charges brought against her.
After some deliberation, members of the jury were returned to the courtroom and delivered a verdict of not guilty on the charges against the defendant.
The annual event is presented by the Escambia County Bar Association in an effort to educate students on the process of justice in the court system.
While the jury deliberated, District Judge Eric Coale spoke to the remaining students in the audience explaining pertinent criminal statues and allowed a time for questions from the students.
The Honorable James H. Reid, a retired Circuit Judge, addressed the students prior to the beginning of the trial.
“I recognize the importance of Law Day,” Reid told the students. “It is a time to learn about the rule of law and jury service. there are two things every citizen should do — vote and jury service.”
Students were given the opportunity and the forms necessary to register to vote in the opening portion of the program on both days of presentation.
“You do make a difference by your participation or you make a difference by your decision not to participate,” Reid said.

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