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Community Outreach

PROGRAMS

Court Clergy Conference
Courtroom to Classroom
Judges' Speakers Bureau
Justice Corps
Mock Trial Program
 
Partnerships with Legislators
Partnerships with the Legal Community
Teen Court
Volunteer, Internship and Externship Opportunities

Our Community Outreach Initiative:  Bringing Judges to the Communities We Serve

Community outreach is critical to the Los Angeles Superior Court and its mission to administer justice. Over the years, we have worked to develop strong ties to the community. These connections have been maintained and strengthened by the various community outreach efforts initiated by the Superior Court.

We have created a committee of judges and a full-time Community Relations Office to implement community outreach programs that bring the Court closer to all of the diverse communities within Los Angeles County.

A team of dedicated judges and staff is committed to bringing our judges to the community to have dialogues about subjects including what courts do and why young people should aspire to become lawyers and judges. In this way, it is our goal to increase access to justice for all.

Judge John Kronstadt, Chair, Community Outreach
Committee
The Court oversees hundreds of services and programs throughout Los Angeles county that address the needs of parties as they navigate through the court system. From child waiting rooms, to service centers for self-represented litigants, to mock trial programs, the Superior Court is working to build trust and confidence among the constituents we serve. The following programs are examples of countywide initiatives aimed at expanding and enhancing court—community relations.
Students from Crenshaw High School visit the Stanley Mosk
Courthouse for a ‘power lunch’ with Superior Court judges.
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Teen Court
The Los Angeles Teen Court provides an opportunity for young people who commit non-serious crimes to be questioned, judged, and sentenced by a jury of their peers. Teen Court is based on the philosophy that a young person who engages in criminal activity for the first time should have the opportunity to correct their habits before “graduating” to more serious crime. Our teen courts are located at Wilson, Dorsey, Manual Arts, Carson, Roosevelt, Taft, Van Nuys, Grant, Jordan, and Venice High Schools. Teen Courts in Los Angeles are ‘courts’ located on campus that function in one of three ways. Some programs have actual courtrooms; some schools use classrooms and have occasional sessions at a local law school; but most programs use classrooms or auditorium spaces on campuses. Jurors are selected from the high school's student body.
Judge Jose Sandoval (left) and Judge David Wesley (right)
talk to students at Roosevelt High School about Teen Court
   
Mayor Villaraigosa at Roosevelt High School Teen Court's
opening

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The juvenile defendant and the students who volunteer to participate as jurors, clerks, and bailiffs benefit from participation in this intervention program. For the juvenile defendant, the teen court program offers the incentive of having no record of criminal conviction if the sentence imposed is completed within a six month period. For the other students, it offers valuable lessons about how courts operate. The Court benefits from this program because it prevents minor juvenile offenses from clogging an already burdened juvenile justice system and because it helps educate the public about the work of the courts.

Click here to request more information about Teen Court.
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Courtroom to Classroom

Judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court visit 8th and 11th grade U.S. History classrooms throughout Los Angeles County as part of the Courtroom to Classroom program. A team of one judge and two attorneys visits the same 8th or 11th grade classroom twice a year to present lessons that are part of the prescribed California History Social Science standards for U.S. history. On each visit, the team presents a slide show about an aspect of the Constitution and its place in United States history. But, the centerpiece of each visit is when the students become lawyers and judges in a mock U.S. Supreme Court case on issues of interest to young people. Students love it! This program, which the Court has developed in a partnership with the Constitutional Rights Foundation, is also effective because students interact closely with our judges and capable lawyers. These individuals present great role models to inspire the students to do their best in school.

Judge John Kronstadt and Justice Carlos Moreno at Merced
Middle School
Students at Merced Middle School present legal arguments in
mock Supreme Court case in Courtroom to Classroom program.
Edward Velasquez, Superintendent, Montebello Unified School
District observing the “Courtroom to Classroom” program at
Merced Middle School.
   

Click here to request more information about the Courtroom to Classroom Program.
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Mock Trial Program
The Superior Court partners with the Constitutional Rights Foundation in offering the annual Mock Trial Program. Mock Trial promotes a working knowledge of our justice system among youth by having students role play the various facets of a legal case in courthouses throughout the County. Students actively experience the excitement of working in teams, exchanging ideas, setting goals, and examining issues while interacting with positive role models from the legal community. Each year, the Mock Trial Program serves over 2000 students across Los Angeles County and involves over 350 members from the bar and bench.

Mock trial proceedings, Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Click here to request more information about the Mock Trial Program.

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Justice Corps
The JusticeCorps program presents an innovative approach to solving one of the more pressing issues faced by courts around the country today: providing equal access to justice. Each year, through funding provided by AmeriCorps and the California Administrative Office of the Courts, the Los Angeles Superior Court recruits and trains 150 diverse university students to augment overburdened court and legal aid staff who are assisting self-represented litigants in court-based self-help programs. These highly motivated and well-trained students provide 300 hours of in-depth and individualized services to self-represented litigants. The program offers outstanding opportunities for students to learn about the law and to provide a much needed service to their community.

Participants must be enrolled at one of our partnering campuses: California State University Dominguez Hills; California State University Long Beach; California State University Northridge; California Polytechnic, Pomona; or the University of California at Los Angeles. Students can apply for JusticeCorps through their university's Community Service Learning Center.

Self-Help Center, Santa Monica Courthouse
Justice Corps swearing-in
Ceremony, 2006

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Click here to request more information about Justice Corps.
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Judges' Speakers Bureau
The Judges’ Speakers Bureau increases the public’s understanding and knowledge of the judicial system. The program is composed of Los Angeles County judicial officers who speak to community, education, faith based, government agencies, and other types of organizations. By utilizing the Judges’ Speakers Bureau, community groups may request that judges speak to them about issues of concern to the community, as well as how the judicial system works. The program has been educating many sectors of the county’s population for more than 10 years.

Click here to request more information about the Judges' Speakers Bureau.

Click here to request a speaker from the Judges' Speakers Bureau.
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Court-Clergy Conference
When diverse groups come into contact with the justice system, they often lack critical information, which hinders their abilities to navigate the justice system effectively. In these times of crisis and indecision, many will turn to their clergy leaders for guidance. Unfortunately, clergy and faith leaders themselves are frequently uncertain about how to interact with the justice system on behalf of those they counsel. The Court-Clergy Conference was designed to identify and discuss the ways in which clergy can actively get involved in legal proceedings so that their constituencies can be better served as they come into contact with the justice system.

The Los Angeles Superior Court has initiated a series of meetings with clergy and other faith leaders in Los Angeles County to stimulate greater dialogue and interaction with the community. These Court-Clergy Conference educate the clergy on court procedures, while obtaining feedback from the faith community about the performance and perception of the courts.

Court-Clergy Conference, Compton, CA
Court-Clergy Conference, Dependency Court panel
Court-Clergy Conference, Compton, CA

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Click here to request more information about the Court-Clergy Conference.
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Volunteer, Internship and Externship Opportunities
The Court collaborates with local high schools, occupational centers, colleges, universities, and community based organizations to obtain much needed resources. Approximately 3,200 volunteers and interns work in programs such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Domestic Violence Clinics, Guardianship Clinics, and various other volunteer/internship programs. Individuals donate thousands of hours in 30 different Court programs, while receiving class credit and education about the justice system as well as gaining valuable work experience and mentorship from judicial administration. The program aims to bolster participants’ self-esteem and to provide each with an understanding of court and related career opportunities.

Gov. Gray Davis (ret.) with Court volunteers,
Diversity Summit

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Click here to request more information about volunteer, internship, and externship opportunities with the Court.
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Partnerships with Legislators
The Court hosts annual events to encourage dialogue between judges and local legislative offices from Los Angeles County. One such event is the Legislative Staff Outreach Program. Court staff in charge of various components of court operations provide oral and written information to help staff from legislative offices and staff from offices of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors answer constituent inquiries. Among the many topics discussed are jury service, traffic matters, civil proceedings, criminal proceedings and family law. The Legislative Staff Outreach Program encourages questions and concerns from legislative staff, and is a successful tool in building relationships between the two branches of government because legislative constituents are also the Court's customers.

Click here to request more information about the Legislative Staff Seminar or other opportunities for Legislators and their staff to interact with the Court.
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Partnerships with the Legal Community
The Superior Court hosts regular meetings with members of the Bar to discuss procedural issues and other issues of mutual concern. The bench bar activities lead to greater collaboration and awareness of issues important to the administration of justice. These collaborations have fostered increased dialogue about issues of diversity within the courts. The Court is committed to diversity at all levels, from our judicial officers, administrative staff and law clerks, to our juries. As such, the Court, ethnic and minority bar associations, and other legal community groups participate in on-going educational events to raise awareness of this issue and promote decision-making that will increase the diversity of the courts. Bench bar collaborations help the Court anticipate and meet the needs of the diverse communities that we serve.

Judge William MacLaughlin, Diversity Summit
Diversity Summit

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Click here to request more information about possible collaborations between the Court and the Legal Bar.
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