"Murder" 101 at Thomas Jefferson School of Law

June 22, 2016 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
SAN DIEGO, CA, 6/22/16 Last month, Thomas Jefferson School of Law was the venue for the end-of-year events connecting the law school and Crawford High School.

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law segment of their joint pipeline to law school program is the Diversity Committee's CLIMB entity. CLIMB refers to the law student directed Crawford Law Institute Mentoring Board. The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) segment of this program is the Crawford High School Law Academy-initiated during Crawford's 2011-2012 school year.

SEE: Programs Law Academy

CLIMB began when the Crawford Parent Teacher's Association (PTA) contacted Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor Emeritus William Slomanson. The PTA's view was that Thomas Jefferson Law is known for its high percentage of minority students, while Crawford is the most diverse student body in SDUSD-with fifty languages being spoken in the homes of its student population.

The highlight of this joint venture occurred when Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor Maurice Dyson facilitated the State Bar of California selection of Thomas Jefferson School of Law's CLIMB Program to receive the 2013 State Bar of California Education Pipeline Award.

SEE: Thomas Jefferson School of Law's CLIMB Program Wins State Bar Award

This year's activities culminated in CLIMB Week, featuring the Crawford Law Institute's sophomore class conducting a trial in Thomas Jefferson Law's Moot Court Room on May 26th.

As characterized by Professor Dyson:

"Their performance should leave absolutely no doubt that these students are well worth every investment of effort and time to coach and tutor them and every law student should doing so should be confident they are making a profound difference in their lives and the world by being a part of CLIMB."

The Crawford student judge, bailiff, four attorneys, witnesses, and jurors conducted this year's trial entitled "Murder 101." It was a mock trial case, based on People v. Buschell, which was prepared by the national Constitutional Rights Foundation.

SEE: California Mock Trial Program

As noted by Professor Slomanson:

"The excellence demonstrated during this life changing event began with the masterful preparation by Crawford High Law Academy of Law Director Jamie Davenport (USD Law), Academy of Law Teacher Monique Candor (Thomas Jefferson School of Law), and Mock Trial Team Advisor Raymond Beattie."

In Candor's criminal justice class, the students put a lot of effort into preparing and practicing for the mock trial at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Students prepared a crime scene investigation report, based on their review of the mock crime scene.

In Beattie's class, students learned the general facts of People v. Buschell. Then they read each witness statement and memorized the facts from each witness. They played online games based on the witness statements that he created.

Attorney Celia Rutherford also assisted, in her mentoring role for the Law Academy students over the last several years.

This seminal event in the lives of these young lawyers-in-training continued with the commanding but empowering guidance of the Honorable Dwayne Moring, Judge of the San Diego County Superior Court. In his words:

"It was an absolute privilege to preside over the 2016 Crawford Academy of Law Mock Trial exercise. It was extremely encouraging to see the racial, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity represented by the Academy of Law students who participated in the Mock Trial. It bodes well for the future of the legal profession that the Crawford Academy of Law exists and receives such strong support from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Together the schools are serving a crucial role in maintaining and increasing the diversity pipeline to the legal profession."

Thomas Jefferson School of Law's 3L Cashel White was instrumental in the behind-the-scenes detail required to integrate all parts of this successful trial.

Student prosecutor Caszmani Walker's letter to Cashel White added as follows:

"I wasn't sure I wanted an attorney role. After working with you, I felt a little bit more confident in [giving] my opening statement. I'm really happy that you gave us the opportunity to work in and see Thomas Jefferson School of law. You're one of the best mentors we have worked with all year. Thank you so much."

The week was capped off by a CLIMB student reunion, hosted on May 28th by Thomas Jefferson School of Law grad Alex Partida in Chula Vista.

Professor Slomanson traces the highlight of the reunion in these terms:

"Dean Guernsey was instrumental in making it possible for Chicago Thomas Jefferson School of Law grad Sajad Husain (aka Mr. Sid) to attend the California State Bar award ceremony for our CLIMB program. I was instrumental in correcting the record about the initial success of CLIMB at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Last summer, Crawford senior staff member, Jesse Morphew gave me a year of opening (1957) Crawford High letter jacket as an expression of thanks for getting CLIMB started at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. I knew, however, that this striking icon was not mine to keep. My Number One contribution to CLIMB was recruiting Sajad Husain to do the initial organizing. He is the person who made all ensuing CLIMB successes possible. I believed that this beautiful, mint-condition jacket really belonged to Sajad. So with the approval of Mr. Morphew, and co-advisor Professor Dyson, I was thus able to redirect this idyllic symbol to 'Mr. Sid,' during an emotional transfer ceremony at the weekend CLIMB reunion."

Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers a comprehensive legal education to a nationally-based, diverse student body. The non-profit law school is consistently ranked as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation, with 52 percent of its most recent class being students of color. Located in Downtown San Diego, Thomas Jefferson Law has evolved into an innovative, cutting-edge law school, devoted to the individual needs and success of its students. More information is available at www.tjsl.edu.

CONTACT: Thomas Jefferson School of Law Director of Marketing and Communications Edgar Hopida, 619-961-4314 or 619-913-0719, ehopida@tjsl.edu

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