Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Courthouse tour

We recently went on a tour of the Federal Courthouse locally with a homeschool group.  Since we have been learning about American history and just completed learning about the Constitution and how the government is set up this was a great opportunity.
We learned that this building houses not only the 8th district Federal courts it is also part of the appellate court system and is the second largest court building in the country 

a model of the entire complex

There is a small children's education center where we met and began a simple scavenger hunt learning about the court system while we waited

We saw the jury holding room where potential jurors come to see if they will be chosen for jury duty.  Here the kids met a Federal Prosecutor who explained his role and how he becomes involved in a case.

We met Honorable Judge Richard Webber and visited a court room

The children were allowed to sit in the jury box and were shown how some of the evidence is presented to the court via television screens

The judge also showed the kids that when the lawyers are called up to  his bench a white noise is sent through the court room speakers so no one knows what the judge and lawyers are saying.  It is nothing like what is on TV!

The judge then showed the kids his office and where he works

his conference room and person library of law books

While the court house does have a law library on site with over 50,000 books,  slowly many books are moving to be located online

Meeting a few of the judges clerks and office staff

He was so nice to the kids and shook each child's hand and answered so many questions.

Next we moved upstairs where we saw an appellant court, but while waiting for the room to be open we admired the view!

These court rooms are very different than the federal courts on the lower floor.  Instead of a jury the case is tried by 3 judges.

the clerk explained each lawyer gets a set amount of time to talk and this is on their podium to let them know when time was up.  there are several thousand cases that are petitioned to be heard at the appellate court but only a few hundred can be heard in a year!

Lastly we met with a secret service agent who explained his role in the Federal court system.  We learned that protecting the President and other dignitaries is a very small part of their jobs.  Originally they were formed to investigate counterfeit money and jurisdiction issues...it wasn't  until the third assignation of a president did their role change to protect the President and other high level officials!

We had a fabulous day learning and visiting the courts.  Everyone was so friendly and answered the children questions.  I was very impressed with everyone we met.


  1. The pictures and thoughts were awesome. I continued to be amazed at how you are teaching your children. I wish all children had this kind of teaching.
    Sending hugs your way!

  2. How cool! I would love to visit a courthouse with the kids. This is something we have not done yet.