SRPMIC Celebrates Law Day 2024

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Kathy Saunders and her little loved ones visited the 2024 Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community's Law Day event at the Justice Complex.

On May 3, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community hosted Law Day 2024 at the SRPMIC Justice Center.

Established in 1958, Law Day is an annual observance that commemorates the U.S. justice system and the impact it has on the country and communities at large. A five-star general in the U.S. Army, President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the observance after his experiences of returning home from World War II and seeing how lawlessness negatively impacted the country.

In the United States of America, courts exist to facilitate justice and to ensure the people’s Constitutional rights. For example, if a trial judge were biased, or not impartial, that would result in the denial of a citizen’s right to due process of law. Due process of law protects citizens from actions taken by state or local governments and establishes that individuals be treated fairly and equally. This mandate is enforced and upheld by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1868, which reads, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Community members and families were invited to attend the Law Day celebration, which offered information booths set up by SRPMIC departments such as Social Services, the Family Advocacy Center, the Office of the Prosecutor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Salt River police and fire departments, Legal Services and the Defense Advocate’s Office. The booths described the resources and assistance they provide to SRPMIC members who may find themselves in need of legal help.

The Legal Services Office held a breakout session in which they opened the floor to questions regarding child support. Additionally, the Defense Advocate’s Office held a breakout session for marijuana expungement (removing from a person’s record any non-violent marijuana-related offenses).

Also on display was artwork commemorating missing and murdered Indigenous people. On April 3, the SRPMIC issued an official proclamation declaring May of each year as Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Month. During Law Day, SRPMIC members and staff received artwork officially commemorating the proclamation as well as information regarding how the SRPMIC is tackling this important issue.

To further detail the inner workings of the judicial system, the Justice Center held a mock trial for tweens and teens on the morning of May 3. Citizen Humpty Dumpty was on trial in the case of “Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty Down the Great Wall?” SRPMIC Legal Services staff and many additional members from the Justice Complex attended Humpty Dumpty’s trial to ensure that the youth learned and followed the rules of procedure for a criminal trial.

After attendees visited each vendor booth, they were awarded a stamp on their official Law Day “passport,” which they could then exchange for an official 2024 SRPMIC Law Day t-shirt.

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