PORTLAND - On Thursday during the lunch hour, dozens of kids took over the courtrooms in Multnomah County.
“We want them to see the justice system at work and so we have mock trials,” explained Judge Julie Frantz.
She’s been organizing the cases for 11 years to coincide with Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day.
“We want them to know it’s not like they see on television. It’s not as exciting and not as predictable but they learn every job is important,” remarked the Judge.
“I had to be the defense attorney and prove my client didn’t steal three CD’s from Tower Records,” said Isabella Peterson.
Judge Frantz says most of the kids want her job or to be an attorney.
“Sometimes we have trouble finding someone to play the defendant,” she said with a laugh.
The children who handle cases in as many as six courtrooms are coached by attorneys, clerks and others who regularly work the rooms.
“We have many Judges who donate their lunch hour. They want students to realize the importance of being a juror and making sure the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Judge Julie.
She says the verdicts from the juvenile jurors usually run 50 percent guilty and 50 percent not guilty.
“I know what it’s like to be an attorney and what it feels like to lose,” said Noah Clark.
“It’s amazing how much they stretch themselves for their roles. I think they really end up surprising themselves in these mock trials,” concluded the Judge as she finished her lunch hour and returned to regular court business.