PHOENIX (June 8, 2022) – After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Courthouse Experience kicked off on May 31 with a visit from 40 East Valley high school students.
The students, a vocational rehabilitation summer class, observed Judge Frank Moskowitz and Judge Ronee Korbin Steiner’s morning calendar and trial. They witnessed, firsthand, the important role of an independent judiciary.
“Courthouse Experience is our favorite community activity for preparing students for life after high school,” Westwood High School Teacher Wendy Clifford said. “The students enjoyed seeing how a trial process works and learning the importance of making sure the judge and jury are listening to the facts. Also, it was cool how Judge Moskowitz talked to all of us about careers in the justice department and the importance of jury duty. Our class now has a good understanding of what to expect if they are ever called as jurors.”
The Courthouse Experience is part of a larger effort by the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County to connect with local students to show them the importance of the judiciary, their future role as jurors and to help them better understand the justice system. Students are also told about the variety of jobs available within the Judicial Branch, including those in probation, juvenile detention, court support services and other professions.
Student groups are set to visit the Superior Court this summer, but Courthouse Experience is expected to be in full swing as students return for the Fall 2022 school semester.
Courthouse Experience allows middle and high school students from Maricopa County the opportunity to learn about the legal system and observe court as part of a guided tour. A typical tour often includes visits with judicial officers, observations of court proceedings, visits to the jury assembly room and informative question and answer periods. Classes are welcome to attend all different types of hearings and trials if the content is appropriate. Historically, most schools have been interested in criminal court proceedings.
Schools may request tours though the Court’s website at: https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/communications-office/request-visit/. Once the online form is submitted, the Courthouse Experience coordinator will seek volunteers to accompany the group and court events for the students to observe. A formal agenda is then sent to the school.
Tours begin at roughly 9 a.m. and conclude at noon. Upon arrival, classes will meet their assigned volunteer on the South Court Tower steps before entering the building and going through security screening. Once inside, the volunteer will give the class an overview of Superior Court before heading to their designated courtroom. Depending on their calendar and availability, judicial officers may speak with the students.
Volunteers consists of attorneys, court staff and judicial officers. The recommendation is one volunteer per 16 students. Each group of 16 students must have an adult or teacher affiliated with the school. The Court can accommodate as many as 125 students per day. To volunteer as a court guide volunteer, contact Vincent.Funari@JBAZMC.Maricopa.Gov.
School bus and van parking is arranged in advance with the city of Phoenix at 602.262.6235.
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The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is comprised of Superior Court, Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation, which includes juvenile detention. The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is the fourth largest trial court system in the nation and, along with its 3,000 employees, is dedicated to providing a safe, fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes, enhancing access to services, and providing innovative, evidence-based practices that improve the safety of the community and ensure the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. For more information, visit www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.