Good Life

Helping Hands: Law Day gives students a glimpse at legal process

Four hundred high school juniors and seniors are expected to participate in the Centre County Bar Association’s Law Day program Fridayat the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.

Law Day, established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower, and since then proclaimed annually by the president, is a day to recognize our nation’s legal heritage and commitment to the principles of equality, justice and the rule of law. Bar associations across the country take part in Law Day by providing education and outreach programs in schools and other community venues.

For this year’s Law Day celebration, the Centre County Courthouse will host high school students from State College, Bellefonte, Philipsburg-Osceola and Penns Valley area school districts. The students will have the chance to take an up-close look at the criminal justice process, starting with arrest and booking, through trial, and sentencing and beyond. They will meet and interact with judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors and members of law enforcement. All four Centre County judges — Thomas King Kistler, Bradley P. Lunsford, Pamela A. Ruest and Jonathan D. Grine — will participate and address the students.

Groups of students will rotate through sessions that will cover different aspects of the justice system. Highlights of the day will include a mock jury selection before a Centre County judge, a case review of a driving-under-the-influence prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office, testimonials from inmates incarcerated at the Rockview state prison, and a demonstration by a Penn State police K-9 officer. One group of students will tour the Centre County Correctional Facility and view a mock arraignment and booking.

The program will help to give the students an appreciation of the rights and responsibilities they will have within the criminal justice system when they become legal adults.

This year’s program was made possible by the efforts of the CCBA Law Day Committee, consisting of attorneys from Penn State, private law firms, MidPenn Legal Services and the Centre County Women’s Resource Center.

For further information concerning the CCBA or the Law Day program, contact Hollyce Winters, executive director of the Centre County Bar Association at or 548-0052.