Street Law Program Teaches About the Justice System

Street Law Program pic

Street Law Program
Image: streetlaw.org

Imogene L. Cathey was recently appointed the general counsel to Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she is involved with legal matters ranging from human resource issues to federal regulations. Active in community affairs, Imogene Cathey also participated earlier in Florida as a facilitator for a Law Day mock sentencing hearing.

The hearing marked the final event in Street Law, an after-school program in which middle-school students learned experientially about the justice system and the necessity of good citizenship. Sponsoring the proceedings was the Josiah T. Walls Bar Association, an association of African-American lawyers.

Students playing the roles of the judge, the prosecution, and the defense heard the details of a fictional case of aggravated battery. Prosecutors asked for a harsh sentence and the defense proposed a milder punishment. The judge decided on a compromise sentence using elements of both requests.

Prior to this exercise, Street Law students took field trips to several locations in Tallahassee, including the state Supreme Court, where they visited the court library and met the justices and other officials. They also took part in crafting mock legislation and toured the campuses of Florida A&M and Florida State universities.

The students said they enjoyed learning about the branches of the government and the importance of the law. Several voiced ambitions to become attorneys and law enforcement officials. One of the instructors stated that it empowered young people to see themselves as officers of the court, rather than victims.

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