It’s the law! |

It’s the law!

Photo for The Union by Liz Kellar

Local fifth-graders got an up-close-and-personal look at the American justice system Friday morning.

As part of Law Day 2012, the students participated in a mock trial of one of their teachers, who stood accused of stealing a bicycle while wearing a Halloween mask disguise.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger, Deputy Public Defender Courtney Abril and Deputy District Attorney Oliver Pong each had a student counterpart by their side — as did the bailiff, court clerk and court reporter.

It didn’t take one session’s jury long to render a guilty verdict, providing some of the kids with their favorite moment of the day — watching as their teacher was handcuffed and taken into custody.

But the “trial” had its serious side as well, as the students got a more clear explanation of legal concepts, such as “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Law Day is sponsored by the Nevada County Superior Courts, local law enforcement and the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and is an opportunity for the students to experience the legal system and law enforcement efforts. The courthouse is closed for the day, enabling about 600 students to tour the building while observing presentations by judges, attorneys and others.

Students learned how the courts work, including the roles of the judge, district attorney and public defender and the role of law enforcement in the justice system. They also got a tour of the old county jail facility.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call (530) 477-4229.

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