Students Experience Judicial Process First-Hand

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The Introduction to American Government class attended visited several court sessions.

Florida Introduction to American Government students recently witnessed a variety of activities including a triple murder trial and a wrongful death civil suit against 10 tobacco companies as part of their visit to the Palm Beach County Court House.

The group, led by Northwood adjunct professor Justice Ira J. Raab, a retired Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, also observed arraignments, assignment of counsel, motions, pleas and sentences.

The students gained a wide range of examples relating to how the Judicial Branch of government functions," said Raab. This type of first-hand lesson provides a much greater learning impact than classroom lectures or textbooks," he said.

In addition to the triple murder jury trial's direct and cross examination of an eye witness and of a detective who arrested the defendant. The students also heard direct and cross examination testimony of an expert witness on how tobacco smoking is addictive and could cause death. Several supporting activities including services for interpreters, probation meetings, jury empanelling, inmate transportation procedures, and case mediations were also studied.

The Northwood University Introduction to American Government Class (PSC 2010) focuses on the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of American government while studying the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, federalism, political parties, the federal bureaucracy, elections, interest groups, and more.

Photo: Students stage a trial of their own in the 100 year old Palm Beach County Courthouse (L-R): Philip Mawamba, Judge Jesse Alves, Christopher Soltren, Jake Lockhart