Fifth graders attend Law Day

Law Day program at courthouse


Last Wednesday, the fifth grade students from Lawrence-Nelson and Superior participated in County Law Day in Nuckolls County Courthouse. Students took part in a mock trial in which the defendant Alexander T. wolf is accused of destroying the homes of two pigs and eating them. Kynlee Peterson (left) played the part of a lawyer defending "Alexaner T. Wolf," played by Tatum Dana.

Fifth grade students from the Superior and Lawrence-Nelson elementary schools received a crash course in the workings of the judicial system last Wednesday. They participated in the fifth annual Law Day program presented at the Nuckolls County courthouse in Nelson. The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Supreme Court and the Nebraska State Bar Foundation.

There were 11 students from Lawrence-Nelson along with their teacher, Andy Peterson. The Superior contingent numbered 24 students along with their teacher, Judi Roach.

Diane Wehrman, clerk magistrate for Nuckolls County, welcomed the classes. She presented an overview of the day's activities.

Brent Potthoff, a Nebraska State Patrol officer, along with his police dog partner, Amos, a Dutch Shepherd, demonstrated the various aspects of his duties. He advised the students that Amos was trained in four areas, drug detection, apprehension, tracking and evidence recovery. Amos quickly discovered a container of drug scented objects. Potthoff answered a large number of questions from the assembled students. One sharp eyed student noted Amos possessed a steel tooth.

After the dog demonstration, the students moved to the courthouse parking lot. Nate Wilt, a Nuckolls County deputy, Potthoff and Sergeant Cody Paro, Nebraska State Patrol troopers, displayed and explained the utilization of the various items their vehicles were equipped with. The students peppered the officers with questions once again.

It was time to return indoors for the mock trial with each role in the court being filled in by a student.

One Alexander T. Wolf found himself in a humiliating position as he was arrested by Deputy Wilt in front of the students.

Wolf was then brought before the judge to be arraigned or to make his initial appearance in court. He was charged with the murder of three little pigs. Wolf proclaimed his innocence and demanded a trial with a jury of his peers.

The trial commenced. The student litigators and court personnel were not with out assistance from their real life counterparts. John Hodge, county attorney, advised the defense counsel. Royce Gonzales, district court clerk advised the judge.

Testimony was heard from various barn yard denizens, including a goat with sound effects. Wolf adamantly declared his innocence saying he only went looking for a cup of sugar to borrow. The pigs were already deceased, he claimed, but it would be a shame to waste a good meal.

The jury adjourned to the jury room to determine the fate of said A. T. Wolf.

The sounds of contentious discussion could be heard emanating from the jury room. The jury returned to the courtroom after reaching their verdict.

The jury declared they were 11-1 in favor of acquittal. One juror said he was guilty. The judge declared a hung jury and a mistrial. A.T. Wolf could be tried again.

Hodge closed out the program by advising the students that the judicial system is the backbone of America. We are a nation of law and no individual is above the law.

The students were presented with goodie bags. They then returned to their schools better equipped to understand what keeps our democracy functioning.


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