Accompanied by business department teachers Tara Beal, Harman Kaur and Dr. Alison Matthews, Harborfields High School students in enrolled in college business law classes traveled to Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip on March 1.
The visit began with students experiencing the different roles within a courtroom. Sgt. Evelyn Portes led the tour along with community outreach coordinator Joseph Benedetto. The latter explained how defendants are processed through the court system and allowed students to view the inside of a holding cell. This provided students with a deep appreciation for the potential loss of liberty when a person is alleged to have committed a crime. Next, students toured the sheriff’s lockup, the area in which criminal defendants are transported from law enforcement or jail to appear before a judge. Lastly, students sat in the courtroom and observed the criminal arraignment process, which provides the accused with a formal reading of the charges brought against them as well as the opportunity to enter a plea. Bail or supervised release is determined as well as probation and court dates set. Harborfields students had the opportunity to watch five individuals be arraigned with appointed legal aid. Upon conclusion of the arraignment hearings, the judge sat with students and further explained the process they had observed as well as his decision-making process, and allowed students to ask questions.
“This was an amazing experience for all students who were able to see firsthand the process of the U.S. judiciary system and the fair and impartial administration of justice the legal system provides,” Beal said.
Date Added: 3/23/2023