Courthouse reaches out to schools and community through Law Day

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EL CENTRO – The El Centro Courthouse celebrated national Law Day 2017 by hosting an event-filled afternoon for the community that included courthouse tours, donning judges’ robes, and interacting with several local judges.

Law Day is a national event that seeks to raise awareness and bring understanding of the intricacies of the law to local communities. The El Centro Courthouse hosted its annual event Thursday by providing open tours of the courthouse for the public.

The purpose of the tours was to provide more knowledge and a deeper understanding of the different departments in the court system and of the law, including the civil and criminal departments, said Michael Kahler, the technology manager in the El Centro courthouse. Visitors were able to put on a judge’s robe and take pictures on the bench, he said. In addition, Judge Marco Nunez and Judge Juan Ulloa gave presentations.

Along with the tours, three legal agencies were present and available for consultations, and local law enforcement agencies such as the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office were present, said Sergio Valadez, facilities security manager.

“Everything was donated by vendors for the public,” he said, including hot dogs, kettle corn, Hawaiian shaved ice, and water.

About 100 students from different classes attended the event, said Kahler.

Two to three classes from Mains Elementary attended the event as part of their LEAD program, said Grace Noll, the Mains school counselor. Students previously participated in a mock trial, and interacted with Imperial County Superior Court Judge Poli Flores, she said. This event was the culmination of their program, and the kids “loved it,” Noll said.

Students were able to speak personally with a judge, tour the courthouse, and take pictures on the judge’s bench, she said.

Law Day is a week-long celebration that takes place statewide, Valadez said. The theme for this year was The Community of Law: “Bringing the Community Together to Do Justice.”  Attendees were able to take pictures with law enforcement vehicles, including a race buggy sponsored by the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).