Students view old, new trials at first Law Day

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Shelby County students received a taste of Colonial law followed by a dose of modern law last week.

The Shelby County Bar Association and The American Village sponsored Law Day.

The event began at The American Village for a Colonial trial and culminated at the Shelby County courthouse in Columbiana for a modern-day trial.

The event was the first ever Law Day, but according to Shelby County Circuit Judge Hub Harrington, only the beginning of many.

The program was put together to give upcoming juniors and seniors in high school who are interested in a possible career in law an opportunity to experience a day in court and talk to people who have made a career in law.

At The American Village, the students witnessed and participated in a re-creation of a colonial trial dealing with a pig theft.

A woman, played by Noelle Stone, was accused of the theft, and, according to the re-enactors, was guilty before the trial

began, simply because she was a woman.

Although the jury, consisting of only males, like in the colonial period &045; the males participating in Law Day &045; found the woman not guilty, the men presiding over the court overruled them.

Shelby County Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Bostic arranged for a sheriff’s deputy to come pick up the same woman from the American Village trial in front of the students and take her &045; handcuffed &045; to the Shelby County Courthouse for the same crime in a modern-day trial. There she was accused of stealing a pig, the family pet, from Sam Barnett, the same man who played the victim in the first trial.

&uot;They (the students) will find this afternoon’s trial a lot different,&uot; said Bostick. &uot;I think this is a great way to show how the Bill of Rights helps … (the afternoon trial) will certainly be a lot more fair.&uot;

Harrington and Bostick felt the most important part of the day, however, was lunch. During that time, the students were able to sit and talk with members of the legal community one-on-one.

Harrington and Bostick, along with Larry Harper, the president of the Shelby County Bar Association, and a number of lawyers and law students were present for the lunch