Morris County 2024 Law Day Celebration

Published on May 02, 2024

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West Morris Mendham High School Mock Trial Champions Honored

West Morris Mendham High School’s mock trial team was honored at the Morris County 2024 Law Day Celebration this week for winning the Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition, marking their 19th victory in the countywide event.

Morris County Commissioner Thomas Mastrangelo congratulated the team alongside members of the Morris County Bar Association, the Morris County Bar Foundation, jurists and other dignitaries at the event held yesterday in the historic courtroom of the county courthouse in Morristown.

“West Morris Mendham High School has created a legacy of winning county and state competitions, which we are all proud of. Mock trials encourage critical thinking and analytical skills. Today, we have the privilege of honoring young leaders who excel in these skills,” said Commissioner Mastrangelo.

A courtroom with a red rug filled with judges and lawyers from Morris County. There is wooden furniture and two large windows behind a large and high court bench. The West Morris Mendham team included Ashley Cespedes, Campbell Portland, Zadie Weaver, Jaira Pierre-Louis, Olivia Piacenti, Ryan Smith, Nathan Acheampong, Colin Stolarski, Anthony Khakhiashvili and Sophia D’Auria. The students were coached by teacher Eric Heditsch, in his 25th year, and attorney William Connelly, who has volunteered for 21 years.

This year’s Law Day theme, “Voices of Democracy,” inspired the program.

“It’s not merely a day on the calendar, it’s a celebration of the very foundation upon which our society is built: justice, equality and the rule of law,” said Superior Court Judge James DeMarzo, Family Presiding Judge for Morris and Sussex counties.

“'Voices of Democracy' reminds us of our unique American heritage, where every citizen has a voice in governing,” said Morris County Bar Foundation President Lawrence S. Cutalo.

In her keynote address, retired Appellate Division Judge Mary Gibbons Whipple discussed the progress made through the right to vote. She noted that New Jersey has implemented measures to protect election integrity, including early voting, mail-in voting and protection for poll workers.

Morris County Bar Association President-Elect Christopher F. Schellhorn announced that a free expungement clinic would be held on May 2 in Morristown toA group of people in suits and unforms stand in a courtroom. support clients in their pursuit of justice.

The Law Day event was sponsored by the Morris/Sussex Superior Court Vicinage, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Morris County Bar Association and the Morris County Bar Foundation, in partnership with the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Morris/Sussex Vicinage Advisory Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement.

Law Day, a national event established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, is a “day of national dedication to the principles of government under law.”



Photo 1: Commissioner Thomas Mastrangelo addresses the West Morris Mendham High School mock trial team. Judge James DeMarzo and retired Judge Mary Gibbons Whipple are seated on the judge’s bench.

Photo 2: An aerial view of the historic courtroom as the Law Day event is in progress.





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