In October 2010, hundreds of 8th graders prepared for mock trials in federal court for the annual Court Works project. Helping them prepare were the following A.S.U. law students: Jeanine Gregory (2L), Deborah Ilea (2L), Brandon Nagy (1L), Arman Nafisi (1L), and David Jackson (2L), who leads the law school’s Junior Law Program.
On Friday, October 29, 2010, the mock trials took place at the U.S. District Courthouse in Phoenix. Participating were a record 332 students from the following middle schools: Lowell Elementary, Kuban Elementary, Hamilton Elementary, McKemy Middle, University Public School Phoenix, and Bicentennial North.
Leading the courtroom exercises were 60 attorney volunteers from Phoenix law firms, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and various other agencies and organizations. The student advocates prepared their own opening and closing statements and questioned five student witnesses, after which student jurors deliberated and reached a verdict. As the trials ended, students discussed the trial with some of the local attorneys volunteering in each courtroom.
In the final session, the students convened in the jury assembly room to hear remarks from Judge Murguia. She emphasized the importance of working hard and staying in school, and she shared her own experiences in pursuing her law degree and building a career culminating in her service as a federal judge. The students also heard from probation officers and U.S. Marshalls, who talked about their careers and who also emphasized the importance of receiving an education.
The program was very well received by students, teachers, and the attorney and law student volunteers. Many who have volunteered for the program in the past remarked that it “gets better every year.”