Positive educational results tend to occur in court visits when certain expectations are recognized and met. Court officials expect teachers to accompany students, especially when an entire class is involved in the visit.
A SUCCESS TIP: Students should always be required to react to the experience of a visit with some kind of a product: A report, summary of activities, a newspaper article, or simple notes should be encouraged to insure close attention to the proceedings.
Dress and demeanor should be appropriate to the decorum of the courtroom. School "colors" are not recommended and quiet is vital. The judge is always addressed as "Your Honor" and the audience stands when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom. This respect is accorded the court-not necessarily to any individual judge-but to the entire system.
In large courts, such as the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court for Wayne County, many cases are proceeding concurrently and if a delay or recess should occur, visitors are free to move to another courtroom. This leave-taking, however, should be done only during a break in testimony or a recess.
What Visitors May Expect
- Visitors deserve to be openly and courteously welcomed to their court. A designated representative of the court should meet them to provide the assistance needed to make the visit meaningful and educational. The office of the court clerk usually handles this assignment.
- Visitors may expect background information on the court they are visiting. This usually consists of a verbal presentation or printed materials such as a brochure describing the court plus a list of cases scheduled. The simpler the language of these materials, the greater the educational impact. "Legalese" won’t do the job.
- Visitors expect to be able to observe and hear the proceedings.