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Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

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Metro Court Takes the Courtroom to the Classroom

01/28/2016

Albuquerque High School students listen as two defendants are sentenced for their second DWI conviction in front of Judge Victor E. Valdez.

Metro Court took its traveling courtroom to Albuquerque High School earlier this year.  The Courts to School program, part of Metro Court’s education and prevention outreach efforts, is designed to bring the actual courtroom experience to students.  The experience includes transforming the school into an actual courtroom, including a Judge’s bench, tables for the prosecution and defense attorneys, bailiffs, and uniformed security.  Courts to School proceedings are actual hearings, with the only difference being that the hearings are conducted in front of a large student audience rather than in a traditional courtroom.  The Program travels to area high schools and colleges once a month.

 The Albuquerque High students sat in the gallery as two defendants were sentenced for a second DWI offense in front of Program Judge Victor E. Valdez.  Once sentenced, the defendants turn and address the student body, talking about the impact drinking and driving has had on their lives.  The defendants are then led away in handcuffs and transported to begin their mandatory jail sentences. 

After the hearings, Judge Valdez opened the floor to Q&A, where the students asked about state law regarding DWI, minor in possession charges, and even how to become an attorney.  

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