Students in the Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Transformative Justice programs visited the John Moakley Federal Courthouse during a recent experiential learning trip into Boston. During this unique field opportunity, facilitated by Discovering Justice, the students and Curry Professors Amanda Crabb and Jennifer Balboni, and Sociology/Criminal Justice Department Assistant Kyra Gaboury were able to meet Chief Circuit Court Justice David Barron, from the federal 1st Circuit.
Judge Barron and his law clerks hosted the students for a discussion about the federal court system, the differences between trial and appellate proceedings in federal court, and several points of relevant criminal procedural law. Judge Barron also discussed his own professional background and journey to being appointed by President Obama to the federal bench. Students also engaged in a question and answer with Judge Barron.
Following this very engaging session, the students were able to observe a segment of a hearing on a motion regarding one prisoner’s rights, and the application of both the American Disabilities Act and the bounds of the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment—legal concepts which our students learn about in their Curry coursework.
The experience concluded with a tour of the architecturally impressive courthouse. Discovering Justice guide Kiara Batista, pointed out the symbolism within the courthouse: the compass engraved in the rotunda and the lighthouse-like architecture within the structure to symbolize the search for truth, and the transparency of the wall of windows facing the Seaport District made to symbolize the need for justice to seen by the community in order to be fully complete.