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Special Constitution Day programs available for schools, community groups and other organizations

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- The 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution is coming up on Sept. 17. To celebrate Constitution Day, the West Virginia Association for Justice is providing free education programs to West Virginia schools, civic clubs, community organizations, churches, senior centers and other interested organizations.

"People are very familiar with the executive and legislative branches of government. Everyone has seen 'I'm Just a Bill' on Schoolhouse Rock. Our least-known branch of government is our court system, but it plays a critical role in the laws that affect us every day. Our courts protect our rights and keep us safe," Beth A. White, executive director of the West Virginia Association for Justice, said in a news release.

"Right now there is a lot of talk about our Constitutional rights, too. The First Amendment, the Second Amendment and, with the discussion of federal government surveillance, our Fourth Amendment are in the news almost daily. Yet, most people don't know about their Sixth and Seventh Amendment rights to trial by jury in both criminal and civil cases. These rights, particularly trial by jury in civil cases, are also being threatened.

"Our educational programs are free and available to any school or organization in West Virginia for Constitution Day next month -- or any time. We recognize that every group is different, and we will work with you to adapt the program for your individual classroom or group."

The available sessions include:

An Introduction to West Virginia Courts - Learn about the different levels of courts, types of laws, jury service and our state's criminal and civil courts

Inherent and Invaluable: A History of Trial by Jury - Learn about your constitutional right to trial by jury, its incredible history and the important role it played in the American Revolution.

An Introduction to West Virginia's Civil Justice System - Learn about civil justice and the critical role our civil courts play in protecting the rights of West Virginia consumers, workers and business interests and keeping them safe. The session also examines how our civil courts protect our free market economy.

For more information or to schedule a program, go to www.wvaj.org/speakersbureau or contact White at 304-344-0692 or bethwhite@wvaj.org.