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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: General Information: Public Relations: Educational Programs
Community Outreach and Education

Community outreach and education are essential to the San Diego Superior Court. By establishing and maintaining strong ties to the community and promoting knowledge about how our system of justice works, the court is better able to fulfill its mission of administering justice in a way that is both accessible and understandable to the public.

The court oversees many services and programs throughout San Diego County that address the needs of people as they navigate through the court system. Judicial officers and court staff are committed to informing the public about the workings of the court and the judicial branch of government in California.


Student Outreach and Education

Students in San Diego County have many opportunities to learn about the California justice system through activities that take place right in the courthouses. During 2007-08, over 7,000 students, from 107 schools, participated in these programs, which are described below.

Courthouse Tours

Our court, in collaboration with the San Diego County Bar Association, offers a Courthouse Tour Program for 5th through 12th grade students. Tours consist of a visit to the felony arraignment department including a question-and-answer session with a judge and participation in a mock trial. Sixth through 12th graders observe an actual trial in session, and 5th graders get to see the cells (unoccupied) where prisoners are held. Prior to the tours, teachers help their students prepare with a vocabulary list of court terms and a video called "Path to Justice," an overview of the California justice system. For a brochure, click here.

Tours are available at the downtown courthouse and the El Cajon courthouse. For information or to schedule a tour, please contact the Student Outreach and Education Program Office at (619) 450-7176 or by email to .

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Justice 101

Justice 101 is a unique program for high school seniors only. Geared specifically for these young people about to enter the adult world, it emphasizes the consequences that can occur when people make poor choices in their lives. The program, offered numerous times during the school year, includes:

  • a candid and interactive presentation by a Superior Court judge about critical issues facing young adults today,
  • a visit to courtrooms to observe actual court proceedings in progress, and
  • a question and answer session with a court official and Deputy Sheriff.

For video highlights of the program, click here. For a brochure, click here.

Justice 101 is available at the San Diego downtown courthouse only, but high schools from throughout the county participate. For information please contact the Student Outreach and Education Program Coordinator at or (619) 450-7176.


Youth In Court Day

This outreach program is held annually in the court's North County division in early March. Available to North County schools, the program exposes the students to the various aspects of the judicial system. More than 1,000 elementary, middle, and high school students are given the opportunity to interact with judges and staff during the day-long event. Domestic violence, forensic evidence, and gang violence are some of the various topics examined through workshops and mock trial activities.

Youth in Court Day is available at the Vista Courthouse. For information please contact

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On My Honor

On My Honor is a complete educational experience for elementary and middle school students in which they learn how the justice system works. The program includes a classroom curriculum with four separate lessons, a teacher's guide, lesson plans, and related activities that take place in the schools. After this classroom preparation, the students then visit the court, where they participate in a mock trial presided over by an actual judge, each student playing a role in the courtroom process, as counsel, jury member, court reporter, or defendant.

On My Honor is available at the Vista Courthouse. For information please contact or (760) 201-8120.  Back to Top


 

San Diego County High School Mock Trial Program & Competition

The San Diego County High School Mock Trial Program & Competition is a statewide academic competition in which high school students compete at the county, state, and national level.  It places high school students in a simulated courtroom setting where they assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case.  As part of the program, area lawyers volunteer to serve as coaches and scorers for the competition and Superior and Federal Court Judges, Magistrates and Commissioners preside over the mock trials.  The winning team goes on to represent San Diego County at the California Mock Trial Finals. 

For additional information or to register tor the 2015 competition please visit sdmocktrial.org.

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Law Week

Started in 1961, Law Day USA (May 1) was designated as an occasion for Americans to celebrate their liberties and explore the ideals of equality and justice under the law.

Since then, Law Day has evolved into Law Week. During this week, the San Diego Superior Court and the San Diego County Public Law Library collaborate to provide Legal Resource Knowledge Fairs at each court division. The Fairs feature information about various court programs, the Law Library, and non-profit legal groups that provide legal resources and services to the public. In addition, student entries in the Law Week essay and poster contest, sponsored by the San Diego County Bar Association, are displayed at the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego.

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Mediation Week

The goal of Mediation Week, held the third week in March, is to increase public awareness of the availability and benefits of court mediation programs and to recognize individuals and organizations providing mediation services.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third person helps the parties reach a voluntary resolution of a dispute. Various Mediation Week events are scheduled, such as information tables at court facilities where printed information and videos about the mediation process and mediation services offered through the court are made available to the public. For more information about mediation and Mediation Week, please visit the court's ADR webpage.

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Juror Appreciation Week

Juror Appreciation Week, which occurs the second full week each May, annually honors the important contributions of citizens in devoting their time and effort in making the cherished right to a trial by jury a reality. Each year, the State of California Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and San Diego Superior Court team up with local agencies such as the Metropolitan Transit System, the Air Pollution Control District, and the San Diego County Water Authority to recognize the thousands of citizens of San Diego County who answer the call to serve their community.

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JusticeCorps

The JusticeCorps program presents an innovative approach to solving one of the most pressing needs of courts: providing equal access to justice. With funding from the California Administrative Office of the Courts, the San Diego Superior Court trains university students to assist self-represented litigants. These highly-motivated and well-trained students provide 300 hours of service during a one-year period to the court and self-represented litigants.

Speakers Bureau

Want to learn more about the court?
Judges and court staff are available
to meet with school groups and community
organizations to talk about how the court works
and the challenges and opportunities facing the
California justice system.

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Other Outreach Programs

The San Diego Superior Court offers programs that not only open access to the court but provide opportunities for community members to participate in providing court services.

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Volunteers

In 2008, more than 480 community volunteers, student interns, and temporary judges donated more than 36,800 hours of service to the Superior Court. Their dedication, time and talents helped to enhance court operations in virtually every area of the court, including:
  • Assisting the public at information desks
  • Conducting courthouse tours for school-age children
  • Caring for children in the children's waiting rooms
  • Working in business offices
  • Assisting with juror orientation
  • Working on special projects

For information about volunteer opportunities and internships with the court, click here.

For more information on student outreach and education programs, speakers, or volunteer opportunities, contact the Community Outreach and Education Program Coordinator at (619) 450-7176 or .

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