Paralegal program chair Kofi Montzka is a believer in the power that field trips have to supplement classroom learning.
Kofi instructs a legal terminology course at Minnesota School of Business-Blaine and took her students to the Minnesota Supreme Court to attend a hearing about a man who murdered his two-year-old niece.
Prior to attending, students studied the facts of the case and the legal issues that would be argued at court. The legal issues being argued included venue, jury selection, and admission of evidence of prior crimes.
“The defendant, Mr. Fraga, had two trials at the district court. In the first trial, he was convicted but was granted a new trial because there was new evidence that was considered. He was convicted in the second trial and my students watched the appeal of the second conviction at the Supreme Court,” said Kofi.
Eric Van Cleve, paralegal program student, said, “This was a wonderful experience. We were able to see the higher courts and how alive the judicial process is, even with the most heinous of crimes.”
“It was exciting to see the process we’ve been learning about in school, in motion,” said Tina Reynolds, forensic accounting program student. “It was also interesting to hear many of the terms we have been learning in class, in practice in the courtroom.”
“The hearing was very interesting. The class has studied criminal law and criminal procedure and it was good for the students to see how this all plays out in real life,” commented Kofi. “It was good for them to see that, no matter how heinous a crime is, the defendant has the right to a fair trial. It exposed them to some of the difficult legal issues and disturbing facts they will see in the legal field.”