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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court


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High School students witness dire consequences of DWI as part of Courts to School Program

April 24, 2023

Students from Siembra Leadership High School visited the Metropolitan Court on April 24, 2023 to observe a DWI sentencing hearing and to learn about the court’s efforts to address underlying issues that often lead to criminal activity.

As part of the Courts to School program, the students sat in on the sentencing of a 28-year-old who pleaded guilty in February to a DWI first offense. The aggravated portion, as charged, was dropped as part of the plea agreement. Upon sentencing, the defendant addressed the students to talk about how driving while under the influence has impacted his life. In exchange for participation in the program, the defendant received credit towards mandatory community service hours.

“Through Courts to School, we strive to open students’ eyes to the dire consequences of driving while under the influence, and we also aim to shed light on the criminal justice system as a whole,” said Presiding Courts to School Judge Shonnetta R. Estrada. “Growing up, we’re often exposed to a limited understanding of how the judicial system actually works, and as part of our court’s education and prevention outreach, we’re looking to provide a full picture to the students through this memorable and meaningful experience.”

Once the sentencing hearing concluded, Judge Estrada, the attorneys, and law enforcement visited with the students, answering questions about the law, the legal process and career paths in the legal field.

Courts to School proceedings are actual court hearings with real defendants and attorneys. The only difference is that the hearings are generally conducted off-site in front of a large student audience.

Schools interested in a Courts to School presentation should contact call Erica Grant at (505) 841-9858.