On June 10th, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office kicked off the San Joaquin County Justice System Youth Leadership Academy in coordination with Superior Court Judge Vlavaiaos. A record number of students, representing 27 high schools were accepted to the five-week program, which includes classroom, courtroom, and field trips for a behind-the-scenes, hands-on, interactive experience with the justice system.
“This is an exciting time for these students; full of opportunities that extend beyond their time in the office, the classroom, and the courtroom. I am proud to have these young people as members of the Youth Leadership Academy network. I hope that this experience has challenged them all and will inspire them to serve the community with dignity and honor the rest of their lives.” –Tori Verber Salazar.
This year, Assemblymember Susan Eggman hosted the group in Sacramento where they heard from members of the assembly, third district court of appeals, legislative staff, and a deputy Secretary of State, Lizette Mata, a graduate of the program. For the second year in a row, the Stockton Police Department conducted implicit bias training and a simulation for students. They also toured the jail, courthouse, Stockton Homeless Shelter, and the California Department of Justice crime lab in Ripon (bus provided by Victims of Violent Crimes Support Group).
Other speakers have included: Dr. Bennett Omalu, Judges Barbara Kronund and Richard Vlavanious, Justice William J. Murray, Jr., members of the Stockton Police Department and the Department of Justice crime lab, and several of our prosecutors. This past Monday, YLA students participated in “Inside a Crime Scene,” presented by our prosecutors and the Bureau of Investigations.
Their final week of the program will include a presentation to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors (“Presentation of the San Joaquin County Justice System Youth Leadership Academy”,) followed by two days of mock trials based on the crime scene presentation.
Friday, with a little sadness but great excitement as well, we will send the students off with a graduation ceremony with family in attendance.
To learn more about this program, please visit www.sjgov.org/department/da/youth-leadership.