Monday, March 30, 2015

May Day - slash - Law Day

Looking at courtrooms on May Day / Law Day

May Day - slash - Law Day

May 1st - May Day usually sees millions of working people marching throughout most of the world — though rarely in this country. Here, we celebrate the worker on Labor Day instead, because President Eisenhower proclaimed May 1st as Law Day after the Soviet Union had sort of co-opted it. In years past, the day has found me shooting Morris dancers at sunrise or something involving a Maypole, or mass swearings-in of new citizens.

This year I was covering a rummage sale in a church basement. But I was thinking about two of my recent experiences with the Law.  For Take Your Child to Work Day, I spent the morning in a New Jersey courthouse as 10 to 12 year olds participated in a mock trial. The goal was to "Educate and Empower" them about the judiciary, and some 120 kids whose parents work for the Prosecutor, Sheriff, and Burlington County court partnered with law clerks and served as prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses, sheriff's officers and juries.

The newspaper used a photo, but you can see more of the youngsters' "Law & Order" drama by clicking here, or on the photo above of ten year old "Judge" Diante Wakefield on the bench. That's "witness" Lindsay Berman, right, a law clerk, testifying against the alleged shooter who "splattered" her with a paintball as she gardened. Court Administrator Jude Del Preore served as the adult "judge" for the proceedings. Dainte came to work with his mom  Joyce Wakefield, a probation officer.

I also sat in another New Jersey courtroom watching through a 300mm f/2.8 lens and studying the face of a teenager convicted of killing his parents - by setting fire to the family home as they slept.  Jason Henry was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but will be eligible for parole when he is 35 years old.


Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at tgralish@phillynews.com.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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