"Law Day" was established in the United States in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to celebrate the qualities and privileges of liberty, equality, and justice that are the foundation of this nation. In many locales throughout the country, Colorado included, Law Day observances have extended to activities during the entire first week of May. The various activities provide students and the public with opportunities to witness firsthand how the legal system works to protect their freedom and rights under the law. In May 2002, members of the judiciary, attorneys, and staff from local bar associations, civic groups, the media, and schools in Colorado participated in a variety of programs and ceremonies during Law Day/Law Week that demonstrate what "equal justice for all" really means. The events highlighted below represent only a sampling of these activities.
A/BCBA Officers at Law Day Breakfast (l to r): Debra Dodd, President; Jennifer Leslie, Vice-President; and Becky Wiggins, Secretary.
ACBA Law Day Luncheon panel members: Diane King and Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni.
• The Adams/Broomfield County Bar Association ("A/BCBA) held its annual "Law Day Breakfast" on May 1, 2002, at the Dome at the Adams County Fairgrounds. The breakfast is a tradition that has been held for more than thirty years. The Dome was decorated in a patriotic theme and small American flags were handed out to attendees as souvenirs. Specific recognition was given to Fred W. Steele, Brighton Municipal Judge, who received the "Volunteer Attorney of the Year" award for his work with the Brighton High School Teen Court Program. District Attorney Robert S. Grant presented the "Peace Officer of the Year" award to Lt. Lori Moriarty and the North Metro Drug Task Force. The keynote speaker at the event was Assistant U.S. Attorney Albert LaCabe, Jr. Among the 600 attendees who were honored at the early morning event were: Attorney General Ken Salazar and members of his staff; all judges of the Seventeenth Judicial District, area mayors and city council members; staff of the District Attorney’s Office; staff of the Brighton State Public Defender’s Office; staff of the County Attorney’s Office; and several Colorado state representatives.
• The Arapahoe County Bar Association ("ACBA") hosted a Law Day luncheon on May 3, 2002, for Arapahoe County High School students and teachers. The luncheon’s theme was "Finding the Balance Between Security and Freedom." CBA President-Elect Robert J. Truhlar moderated the lively discussion among panelists and student and teacher attendees. Panelists included Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni, the prayer leader for the Islamic Center of Ahl Al-Beit in Denver, who presented a Muslim perspective of life in the United States post-September 11; attorney Diane King, former Chair of the Colorado Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union, who spoke about problems and threats to civil liberties resulting from the "Patriot Act"; and Rep. Shawn Mitchell from District 33, who represented the viewpoint that the Patriot Act is a measured, reasonable response to the threat of terrorism.
Megan Brynhildsen was among the DBA/YLD attorneys who answered legal questions during "Law on the Mall" in Denver.
• The Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division ("DBA/ YLD") conducted its annual "Law on the Mall" on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver from April 29 to May 3, 2002. During the lunch hour, DBA/YLD attorney and paralegal volunteers were available at the mall to answer legal questions or give legal direction to the public.
Teen volunteers who participated in ATC Law Day/Law Week mock trials: (back row, l to r) Coordinator Torey Innes, Kimberly Keating, Sharde Albers, Mike Midgett; (front row, l to r) Phillip Zakrzezewski, Sandy Innes, Timothy Connolly.
• The Arvada Teen Court ("ATC") program has been in existence since 1996. On May 4, 2002, ATC conducted mock trials to celebrate Law Day/Law Week. Teen volunteers developed and presented a mock trial to visitors at the City of Arvada’s "Open House."
• Law Day/Law Week for the El Paso County Bar Association ("ECBA") included a luncheon on May 2, 2002. Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida, Arthur J. England, Jr., was the keynote speaker at the event. Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge Gil Martinez presented the "Liberty Bell Award" to Michael Vigil. The recipient of the "Outstanding Young Lawyer" award was Carla Baker; the award was presented to her by 2001 recipient Katie Hays.
Michael Vigil (l) was presented with the Liberty Bell Award by Chief Judge Gil Martinez at the ECBA Law Day/Law Week luncheon.
• Law Day/Law Week 2002, sponsored by the Larimer County Bar Association ("LCBA"), got under way with official proclamations from the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland. On April 30, the Larimer County Young Lawyers held their quarterly "Call-A-Lawyer" event and answered more than sixty calls for free legal advice or referrals. Members of the LCBA made presentations to local high school civics classes dealing with legal rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The local bar’s annual "Law Day/Law Week Luncheon" was held on May 3, 2002, at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger delivered the keynote address on access to justice. Individuals and organizations were given special recognition at the luncheon. Stu Van Meveren, Larimer County District Attorney, was presented with an award for "Outstanding Law Enforcement Professional"; Larimer County’s "Outstanding Jurist" award was given to Hon. James Hiatt, Chief Judge of the Eighth Judicial District; and the Larimer County Association of Legal Support Staff was recognized as the "Outstanding Legally Affiliated Organization." Additionally, savings bonds, medals, and certificates were handed out to primary and secondary school students for their Law Day essays and posters.
Law Day poster contest winners (l to r): Perry Misloski, Samantha Rodin, andTyler Eilbeck, with LCBA lawyers (back l and r) Tom Selken and Jess Gries.
• Fruita Monument High School hosted the Mesa County Bar Association’s ("MCBA") Law Day/Law Week event on May 1, 2002. The program before the press and public consisted of a mock motion argument to close a pretrial hearing, which was designed to generate discussion on the impact of media coverage on equality of justice. Ed Nugent, criminal defense attorney from Grand Junction, argued in favor of the motion, and attorney David Giles, from the Denver firm of Baker & Hostetler, opposed the motion. Federal Magistrate Gudrun Rice presided over the motion. The argument was introduced by Grand Junction attorney Matt Weber; Grand Junction attorney Chris Mahre led the post-motion discussion with students, teachers, and the general public in the audience.
Chris Mahre (at podium) leads discussion among panelists (l to r) Ed Nugent, Matt Weber, and David Giles, with Hon. Gudrun Rice (right) presiding at MCBA Law Day/ Law Week event.
Judge T. Peter Craven, the 9th J.D. "Excellence in Justice" award recipient.
• The Ninth Judicial District ("9th J.D.") hosted justices of the Colorado Supreme Court during Law Day/Law Week observances. Glenwood Springs High School students and teachers, as well as members of the legal community and public, were on hand as the Court heard an actual case at the school. Members of the Court also attended a reception in their honor, during which Judge T. Peter Craven was given the "Excellence in Justice" award, Judge Victor Zerbi was recognized with the "Professionalism" award, and Bill Kaufman was acknowledged as "Pro Bono Attorney of the Year." Also, Cheryl Hurst was recognized for her fourteen years of service as Executive Director of Garfield Legal Services.