Sixth Grade Impacted by Courtroom Visit

by Gary Herring

On Monday, March 25, the sixth grade had the privilege of going to the courtroom of United States Federal Judge Dan Jordan. Judge Jordan invited the sixth grade to witness the sentencing of a convicted felon for selling cocaine.

The hearing took place at 9 a.m. when the Madison County prisoner entered the courtroom in a prison-issued orange jump suit. We all stood as Judge Jordan entered the courtroom. It was sobering to realize that the man in orange was going to be sent to prison.  About six family members came to witness his sentencing.

The prisoner had sold cocaine to undercover agents who tapped his telephone. After several pre-sentencing motions by the defense that were overruled, the prisoner was sentenced to five years in federal prison. It was an overwhelming and emotional experience for all our students.

After the sentencing, Judge Jordan gave a stern warning to the students about the choices that they will make over the next few years of their lives. From his experience as a federal judge, he told them that they would be tempted to take drugs and drink alcohol at their school (private or public) within the next few years. These are gateway drugs that can ruin their lives. The federal prosecutor, defense attorney, and a federal marshal also spoke to the students about the effects of drug use and alcohol use. The prosecutor said, “I don’t care if you are rich or poor, black or white, if you are caught with drugs I am going to put you in jail.” It was a serious moment for our students.

I want to thank Judge Jordan for an amazing morning for our school. It is our hope that the impressions of seeing a man (a father of 13-year-old twins) sentenced to five years in prison will make a lasting impression upon our students.