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Fifth-graders experience jury system

June 27, 2017 

Fifth grade students from Rutherford Elementary recently enjoyed a trip to the Lawrence H. Cooke Sullivan County Court House, where they were greeted by George L. Cooke, commissioner of jurors.

Cooke is the grandson of Hon. George L. Cooke, the namesake of our Cooke Elementary school, who was a Sullivan County District Attorney and County Court Judge. In addition, Cooke is the son of Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke, who was the Chief Judge of the State of New York, for whom the Sullivan County Court House is named.

Students were escorted into a court room where County Court Judge LaBuda and Cooke gave a fascinating and informative narrative of the workings of the judicial court system, including selection of jurors, trial procedures, duties of defending and prosecuting attorneys, etc. The students were very inquisitive and asked many excellent questions.

The students were surprised when they witnessed actual defendants enter the court room to wait for arraignment proceedings. Also in attendance were the Chief Legal Aide Attorney Tim Havas and District Attorney James Farrell. Judge LaBuda scheduled the hearings for a later date.

Following a very interesting question and answer session, the visit ended with a group picture of the fifth graders singing Happy Birthday to a very happy Judge LaBuda.

Jane Sorensen, EPIC Program Manager, assisted in coordinating and chaperoning these field trips.