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For immediate release: May 2, 2011
For further information contact:
Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Law Day Celebration to Be Held at R.J. Hughes Justice Complex

The Judiciary will celebrate Law Day on Friday, May 6, with a number of events at the R.J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton.

The national theme for this year's Law Day is "The Legacy of John Adams: From Boston to Guantanamo."

Videotaped remarks by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner marking the occasion can be viewed beginning Monday, May 2 at judiciary.state.nj.us. In his remarks, Chief Justice Rabner discusses John Adams' contributions to the foundational ideas upon which our nation was built, including the right to a fair trial.

"This Law Day, let's remember John Adams for his dedication to the rule of law, for his leadership in helping build a nation of laws, and for his inspiration to the many dedicated lawyers all around us," he said.

In the days leading up to the American Revolution, John Adams was a well-established attorney in Boston. After several British soldiers asked him to defend them in court for their role in the Boston Massacre, Adams thought long and hard about the impact that representing such unpopular defendants would have on his career. In the end, he agreed to represent them because he believed that the right to a fair trial was a critical component of a "nation of laws, not men."

Vicinages around the state have scheduled Law Day events throughout the month of May. The list of statewide Law Day activities can be found at njlawday.com.

In addition to vicinage events, a Law Day celebration will be held at the Justice Complex. The event will be co-hosted by the Judiciary, the Department of Law and Public Safety and the Office of the Public Defender.

Chief Justice Rabner will officiate at a naturalization ceremony for 50 new citizens at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the Justice Complex.

New Jersey Public Defender Yvonne Smith Segars will speak to invited youth from the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) at 11 a.m. about the differences between the juvenile and adult justice systems.

Public Defender Segars said, "There were no public defenders in John Adams' day. Today, our attorneys play a critical role in carrying out the legacy of John Adams by ensuring a strong defense to all of our citizens."

At 11:30 a.m., Attorney General Paula Dow will present awards to the winners of the New Jersey Bar Association's YouTube video contest for middle and high school students. She will also preside over a mock trial with participants from the JJC.

"Law Day provides us with a rare opportunity to recognize the importance of our system of laws to protect our rights and safeguard our freedoms," Dow said. "It is important to keep alive the legacy of John Adams, and others whose contributions to our legal system continue to benefit all of us."

Reporters and photographer who want to attend the naturalization ceremony or the awards ceremony should call the Judiciary press office at 609-292-9580 to make arrangements.

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Residents from the JJC will attend the naturalization ceremony and the lecture. New Jersey law protects the confidentiality of juveniles placed with the JJC (N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60). Reporters and photographers cannot photograph or interview JJC participants.

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