Pima County summer interns graduate July 12 from Courts Are Us Program

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Old Pima County Courthouse

Twenty-eight Pima County youth will participate in a mock-trial exercise followed by a graduation ceremony and reception on July 12 to celebrate the conclusion of their summer internships with various courts and justice agencies in Pima County. The public is invited to attend both events, showcasing what the students have learned during their seven-week employment and education program.

The 10:30 a.m. celebration in the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room will include remarks by the Hon. Kyle A. Bryson, presiding judge of Pima County; Ronald G. Overholt, administrator of the Superior Court, and Ramon Valadez, District 2 supervisor, Pima County Board of Supervisors. Arnold Palacios, director of Pima County Community Services, Employment and Training along with Judge Bryson will present certificates to the graduates. Courts Are Us students Melissa Baker, Montzerrat Gastelum, Ben Hong, Amil Johnson and Joseph Siml will also address the audience.

Prior to graduation, Superior Court Judge Gus Aragon will preside over a mock jury trial. The Courts Are Us interns will take on the trial roles, including as counsel for the plaintiff and the defendant, witnesses, and jurors in a case designed to demonstrate a civil trial proceeding in the Arizona judicial system.

The interns worked a variety of jobs this summer in Superior Court, Tucson City Court, and Pima County Justice Court, as well as the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court, and that of the Pima County Public Defender. Each intern was supervised in their workplace by dedicated staff members who offered daily guidance. As well, local judges and attorneys volunteered as mentors for every student and helped provide direction and feedback regarding the student’s future goals.

To date, about 760 Pima County youth have taken part in the Courts Are Us program, founded in 1992 by retired Judge Norman Fenton in response to the Rodney King trial verdicts and ensuing Los Angeles riots. The goal of Courts Are Us, said Judge Fenton, is to share with students “the majesty, rights and freedoms” that come with exposure to the United States’ legal system.

Courts Are Us is sponsored by the Superior Court in Pima County and Pima County Community, Employment and Training Department.

Mock Trial: 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 12, Pima County Superior Court, Courtroom 805, 110 W. Congress. (Arrangements to cover the mock trial must be made through Krisanne LoGalbo.)

Graduation Ceremony: 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 12, Pima County Administration Building, 130 W. Congress, First Floor, Board of Supervisors Hearing Room.