Students from Manchester Local Schools visited the Adams County Courthouse Friday, May 2 as a field trip experience. The children were taken to Court Room 1, where Judge Brett Spencer gave a presentation about the court system. Judge Spencer interspersed his discussion with multiple questions for the students to answer, with correct answers resulting in a reward of candy.
After going through why the judge wears robes, how the prosecutor and defense attorney work, and what the names of all the places in a courtroom are, including the witness stand, jury box, and judge’s chambers, Judge Spencer asked one more question, promising a reward of a cupcake. However, once the question was correctly answered, the Court Administrator couldn’t find the cupcake where it was supposed to be.
Judge Spencer quickly convened a “trial” to determine who stole his cupcake, appointing students to be judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, bailiffs, jurors, and investigators. While all the other students were getting a quick lesson in their duties, the investigators were following the trail of clues or, more accurately, crumbs to Crystal Jones, who was promptly arrested to be the defendant in the trial though she tried to shift the blame to one of the teachers sitting next to her.
The bailiffs made sure that Jones remained at the trial, capturing her after her many escape attempts. The prosecutors called the first witness, Judge Spencer, which was a first for these field trips, and questioned him about the cupcake. The defense counsel cross-examined, asking the judge if he had ever seen the cupcake and how he could be sure his staff had actually bought the cupcake to begin with.
The court administrator was called up to the stand next. She was the one tasked with buying the cupcake and the last to see it before it disappeared. She testified that she had indeed bought the cupcake and that she hadn’t eaten it. Furthermore, she said she didn’t even like chocolate, which caused the assistant prosecutor and public defender to look at each other and snicker about charges of perjury.
Once both the prosecution and defense rested, the jurors retired to deliberate. As there were so many students, there were two juries, and both juries found Jones guilty of cupcake theft. A probation officer cuffed her and escorted her off to “jail.” Judge Spencer thanked everyone for their help and hard work, before letting each kid have a piece of candy on their way out to see the jail facility.
West Union second grade students visited the court room yesterday. Jones stole a cupcake once more. However, she was clever this time, as she put lipstick on when she ate it, so lipstick was on the napkin. Then she cleaned off her lipstick and wore chap stick. All three juries found her innocent and proceeded to blame the teacher that had sat behind her the whole time.
Paul Hannah can be reached at (937) 544-2391.