Live courtroom drama at Coronado High

High school government teachers rarely get to bring first-hand experiences into the classroom. In history and government classes, most learning comes from books and lectures. Government can’t compete with frog dissections in biology or “controlled” explosions in chemistry. (I ‘m thinking of chemistry classes at Central High in the ’70s, before things like rules and safety prevented Mr. Bereit from gleefully filling the classroom with smoke.)

Today at Coronado High School in the Scottsdale Unified District, the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, will hear oral arguments in an actual case, Coleman v. City of Mesa, regarding the denial of a tattoo parlor for a business license. These are not actors. Real life lawyers from for the City of Mesa and from the Goldwater Institute will present their arguments.

The character Atticus Finch, portrayed by Gregory Peck (left) in the movie version of "To Kill A Mockingbird," inspired many people to become lawyers. Perhaps students at Coronado High School will have a similar experience today. Photo: Smithsonian/ Watson Davis

Students in law and government classes will attend the hearing. Beforehand, attorney volunteers coordinated by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education prepared the students for what they will see and hear. Afterwards, over lunch, students will have a chance to ask judges and lawyers questions.

The Connecting with the Community Program is an outreach program of the Arizona Court of Appeals to develop a greater understanding among citizens about the function and role of the court and the judiciary.

Dan Friedman


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