Field Trip Features Supreme Court Trial

Erika Riedel, Co-Sports Editor

Law and Society students visited the State Supreme Court in San Francisco on March 4.

After arriving at the Supreme Court building, the students observed the chambers of both attorney Paul Hoffman and Justice Ming Chin, followed by the chief justice chambers in which students witnessed a congregation of 7 justices discussing cases, and observed arguments over the People v. Venezuela trial.

This is the 2nd Law and Society field trip of the year. The 1st took students to the Alameda State County Courthouse.

Sophomore Connie Kim said that the 2 outings the class attended were both trials being held for student observation, but she preferred the Alameda case. “It was so much more interesting because it was a murder trial as you see the defendant and you really get curious if he actually killed someone or not,” she said.

Nonetheless, students were able to observe a real-life example of the law at work and “how law has progressed over the years,” said sophomore Jack Pieper. The students compared law books from the mid 19th century to today’s while in the courtroom.

The field trip was also a way for the students to apply what they had learned in class to the real world. “It is easier to understand the class material that you already learned when you actually see it. In class, we learn how the law process works and then go see the trial. You get to see what you learn actually take place in the courtroom,” said Kim.

Despite the field trip bringing the curriculum “to life,” according to Law and Society teacher Paul Verbanszky, this direct exposure to the process of law has convinced Kim that she does not want to be lawyer.

With nearly 2 years of the class under her belt, Kim said her choice came after “seeing how many sides argue and how even the law has a gray area.”

Verbanszky viewed the field trip as a beneficial experience for the students. “It’s really interesting to see the working of the court system. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to join students behind the California Supreme Court and it the privilege of meeting 1 of the justices of the Supreme Court [Justice Chin] is always a great honor,” he said.