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Bar News - July 17, 2009

Peter Rabbit on Trial During Law Day


Michael McCarthy at Hampton Academy on Law Day.
Editorís note: The NHBA Law Related Education department wants to thank those who volunteered for the ALIES (A Lawyer and Judge in Every School) program this year. On Friday, May 8, 2009, many attorneys and judges visited classrooms to talk about the law and the Constitution. The following article depicts the experience of one classroom visited by attorney Michael McCarthy of Hampton.

The students on Hampton Academyís Eight Blue Team had an exciting experience recently when local attorney Michael McCarthy visited their Social Studies classes for the New Hampshire Bar Associationís annual "A Lawyer and Judge in Every School" program.

Mr. McCarthy began each class with the "Trial of Peter Rabbit," dividing students into the different roles in the prosecution and the defense, including Peter Rabbit and Mr. and Mrs. McGregor. Student jurors listened to the case and determined whether or not they found Peter Rabbit guilty of criminal trespassing, burglary and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

"Mr. McCarthy really helped us understand what was going on and how a trial works," eighth grader Sara Corbett said. "He helped us break down whatís wrong and right in the procedure of determining someoneís guilt or innocence. Taking part in the trial of Peter Rabbit was very interesting because the jurors found that the law protected Peter Rabbit from some of the charges against him."

Once each verdict was read and each trial concluded, Mr. McCarthy spoke with students about his personal experiences as an attorney. He also answered questions about the field of law and discussed past and current Supreme Court cases, encouraging students to be knowledgeable of the trials that have shaped the nation.

"Law Day was fun because now we know about important trials that happened in our nation," said eighth grader Cheyenne French. "Our nation was created by the people and itís imperative that people are represented in a fair and just system. It was fun because we all know the story of Peter Rabbit, so the trial was something we could relate to. I want to be a lawyer someday so participating in the trial was a good opportunity to understand what happens in the law field and a fun glimpse into my future."

Story and photo courtesy of 21 Voices/Atlantic News

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