WOHS students view judicial process firsthand at Essex County Courthouse

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Over two weeks in October, West Orange High School U.S. History I classes traveled to the Essex County Courthouse in Newark to view the judicial process firsthand and up close.

West Orange Township attorney Richard Trenk, a partner in the Trenk-DiPascuale Law Firm in West Orange, arranged the visits and served as onsite liaison for the students along with several other lawyers. Students attended live court proceedings, toured the courthouse and collaborated with judges and lawyers to learn about the legal process. They also had the opportunity to learn about the various careers available in the criminal justice system.

“Visiting Essex County Courthouse has been an amazing learning experience for our students,” K-12 social studies supervisor Stephen Olshalsky said in a press release.

“The Courthouse Tour Program is an essential part of being a resident of Essex County,” Trenk said in the release. “Every student will be impacted by the Essex County Courts Complex. Jury duty, adoptions, voting, death certificates, criminal and civil cases, seeing a jail cell, hearing about ballistics and how guns/bullets are traced all occur at the complex in Newark.

“These trips have given them a more realistic view of how the justice system works as opposed to the romanticized version on TV,” Trenk continued. “That being said, the reality is still very compelling as students have witnessed all types of trials and proceedings. We are extremely grateful to the judges, lawyers, and members of the sheriff’s department who took the time to welcome our students into the courtrooms and also into their daily professional lives. They met with our students before and after various trials to provide insight and context into what they are experiencing.

“There can be no greater educational experience than watching part of a criminal or civil case and seeing how the justice system works,” Trenk concluded. “The complex is the ultimate reality experience; lives are changed every day by what happens in the complex. I know the students will come away with a greater understanding of the impact on all lives.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD