Last Thursday, Oct. 18, Branford High School was transformed into a courtroom as the Connecticut Appellate Court came to the school to hear arguments in two cases, one civil and one criminal, as part of the Court’s annual “On Circuit” program.
According to a press release from the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the "educational initiative began 16 years ago and is intended to provide students, educators and the public with a greater understanding of the Court and its role and procedures."
Three judges heard the cases, including Honorable Robert E. Beach Jr., Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel and Honorable Richard A. Robinson. Gruendel was particularly pleased to bring the program to Branford High School.
“I am very proud to join my colleagues, Judge Robert E. Beach Jr. and Judge Richard A. Robinson, to be at the Appellate Court session at Branford High School – in a town where I was a principal, where all of my sons went to school and where one is now a teacher," said Gruendel in a press release. "I am also very grateful to Branford High School for hosting this event and to attorneys Andrew Campbell, Martha Wieler and Robert Casale, who are helping prepare the students in advance of the arguments.”
Anna Puglia, vice principal of BHS, said that more than 500 students were on hand to hear the two cases, including the civil case of Robin Mulcahy v. Gary E. Hartell, D.C. and the criminal case of State v. Christopher Doyle.
At a reception prior to the proceedings, several staff members of BHS spoke, including Principal Lee Panagoulias and Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez, along with First Selectman Unk DaRos.
All who spoke stressed the educational value of the experience, thanking the courts and all of the staff members who made the event possible.