A group of 22 Shelton High School juniors and seniors received a first-hand look at the judicial system with a tour of the state courthouse in Waterbury.

The tour was part of the Connecticut Bar Association’s (CBA) Connecticut Court Visitation Program, which allows students in the 7th to 12th grades to visit a courtroom and witness real-life criminal court proceedings.

The goal is to acquaint students with the basic steps used in both civil and criminal court procedures and to demonstrate to them the responsibilities of citizens in the American legal system.

The students' law studies teacher, Nancy Duffy, and social studies teacher, Fred Mulholland, accompanied them to the courthouse.

Met with marshal, prosecutor, attorney, judge

Marshal Joe Martin explained the roles of the court staff, and students were able to observe a small lock-up room. Students also met with David Gulick, assistant state's attorney; David Smith, a public defender; and Judge Salvatore C. Agati, who all stressed the importance of making good decisions.

The students then observed an arraignment session with Judge Thomas D. Colin. According to the students, attending court was beneficial to understanding how the justice system operates.

Through the CBA program, more 80,000 students around the state have made similar visits to courthouse to learn more about the legal system.

Superior Court Judge Seymour L. Hendel, chairman of the Court Visitation Program, said, “Since its inception in 1980, the Connecticut Court Visitation Program has become a standard part of the curriculum in many schools in the state and more than 84,000 students from public and private middle schools and high schools throughout the state have participated in the program.”

The CBA is a professional association committed to the advancement of justice, the protection of liberty, and to safeguarding the dignity of the legal profession. Learn more at www.ctbar.org.