CNM’s Mock Courtroom to Become Real on April 14

April 9, 2015 -- On April 14, CNM’s mock courtroom in the JS Building will become a real Metro Courtroom, complete with a judge, bailiff, court reporter, prosecutor, and defendants.

Jul 17, 2015

For two hours, between 9-11 a.m., CNM Criminal Justice and Paralegal students will see real sentencing hearings in person, just like they were being held in the downtown Metro Courthouse.

Kevin Daugherty, who for the past 15 years has taught criminal justice courses at CNM, said the Metro Court Criminal Division contacted him with a proposal for the college to participate in its Courts to School program. For several years, the Criminal Division has gone to high schools around Albuquerque, setting up real courtrooms and hearings. This was the first time CNM was approached to participate in the program.

“The traveling courtroom is used in the high schools to show the students the consequences of drunk driving,” Daugherty said. “At CNM it will be more of an educational process for college students majoring in criminal justice. We are hoping this will lead to our students working with the District Attorney’s Office on an ongoing basis.”

The Metro Court has a mobile courtroom that is taken to the high schools, complete with chairs for the judge, court reporter and jury, and appropriate flags and seals. However, since CNM has a mock courtroom in the JS Building, only flags and seals will be needed.

Presiding at the April 14 hearings will be Judge Sharon Walton, Metro Court Judge in the Criminal Division and part-time CNM instructor. Accompanying her will be her court staff, including her bailiff, court reporter and court clerk. Also on hand will be a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s Office, a lawyer for the accused and the defendants.

All of the individuals being sentenced have already pled guilty to their second DUI. They will be at CNM for their sentencing hearing. Part of their plea bargains will take part in this program as they hope to reduce their sentences. Four or five defendants will be sentenced.

Prior to the start of the hearings, students will see a short presentation that explains proper behavior in a courtroom. They will be told that they must turn their cell phones off, just like in the hearings held downtown. After the hearings, the judge and attorneys will return to the students and answer questions

Most of the students attending the hearings are studying for their Associate of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice, the entry-level degree for many criminal justice jobs.