Conflict involving youth, family, communities and institutions inexorably finds its way into state court justice systems. Once there, litigants find that institutional pathways available to them not only effect legal consequences to their actions, but more importantly, have longstanding affects on their lives, as well as the lives of others. This class introduces students to the emergence of one such path in state court justice systems: peacemaking.
The introduction begins with the exploration of the roots of peacemaking from indigenous nations within our national border. Students will learn from nationally renowned native guest lecturers about world views, tribal justice systems, tensions between native justice systems and western-model court systems and the opportunity for nurturing communication, collaboration and finding common ground between the two.
Thereafter, students will engage in exploring the practical application of peacemaking in state justice systems in family, probate, civil and criminal proceedings. As part of that engagement, students will first conduct a mock trial in a subject area of their choosing through a traditional adversarial model, and then through a peacemaking approach.
Finally, students will explore emerging branches from peacemaking in state justice systems. This exploration will include current models around the country, as well as inspiration from models outside of our borders such as South Africa, Canada and Ireland.
The class is co taught by a trial attorney with criminal and family court experience, and a state court presiding judge of a peacemaking court. In addition to the mock trial, a final paper will serve in lieu of a final exam.