For our part, in the judicial branch, federal judges in the Southern District of Florida over the past six months have brought into our courtrooms more than 500 high school and college students to give them exposure to, and experience with civil discourse and decision-making practices that are not only legal skills but critical life skills.2. President Trump took the opposite tact and criticized district judges on law-day:
Federal judges in West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce, Miami and Fort Lauderdale are the first to launch the program as part of a national civility and decision-making initiative that in Florida we call Teen Discourse and Decisions — TD-Squared (TD²). Volunteer attorneys, including members of local Federal Bar Association chapters, assist the presiding judge in guiding participants through a high-stakes case involving a peer caught up in a fictional but relatable scenario. Students use civil discourse skills during their jury deliberations to come to a verdict.
To prepare for the deliberations, the student jurors commit to ground rules for relating respectfully while working through the issues. However, they quickly learn that civility doesn’t mean the process is devoid of emotion. On the contrary, reason is powered by passions deeply felt but constructively channeled. Through this program and many life experiences as a judge, a lawyer and a mother, I have found that, even when emotions run high, young people have an innate sense of fair play. They understand, even when they fall short, that passion isn’t a license to be disrespectful to others.
I was moved to see how this philosophy came through in a commentary piece my 16-year-old son wrote for his high school newspaper. The title of his editorial is “Challenging Ideas, Not People.” In it, he reminded us that “we must find a way to have our voices heard and stand up for what we believe in, but not in a way that aims to threaten and embarrass others.” That mentality is at the heart of civil discourse. It is a frame of mind that sets the stage for listening to and engaging with others about strongly held beliefs – even when we passionately disagree with their ideas or believe they are wrong.
It is a frame of mind that sets the stage for listening, engaging, and accepting the strongly held beliefs of others – even when we passionately disagree with their ideas or believe they are wrong.
Trump's Law Day proclamation includes criticism of courts for "rulings that exceed traditional limits on the judicial power" pic.twitter.com/W3LcBnKAsv— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) April 30, 2018
3. The feds have charged a juvenile detention officer. From the AP:
An officer at a South Florida juvenile detention center was arrested Monday on federal civil rights charges after a 17-year-old died in a beating by other inmates that was allegedly encouraged by the officer using a bounty and reward system.UPDATED 4. It appears that the feds and Esteban Santiago (the FLL shooter) have reached an agreement that he will plead guilty (and receive a life sentence) in exchange for the government not seeking the death penalty.
An indictment unsealed Monday accuses Antwan Lenard Johnson, 35, of conspiracy and deprivation of the teenager's rights under color of law. Johnson had an initial court hearing Monday but did not enter a plea. His lawyer declined comment.
The indictment claims Johnson used bounties and rewards so inmates at the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center would use violence to punish bad behavior by other inmates. The 17-year-old who died was identified only as "E.R." in court documents but a Department of Juvenile Justice statement identified him as Elord Revolte.
Prosecutors said Revolte was fatally assaulted by other juveniles in August 2015 because of unspecified "statements and behavior" that challenged Johnson's authority. The inmate rewards included extra recreation time, such as watching more television, and snacks.