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Common Pleas Court Community Outreach

Court in the classroom presentation

Court Educational Programs

We are excited to offer educational opportunities to children students throughout Cuyahoga County. Our Judges visit schools, welcome students into their courtrooms and even hold live Court sessions at area middle schools.

"Teaching our children about the justice system is one of our main goals,” says former Administrative and Presiding Judge John J. Russo. “When a student understands the legal system and what is at stake, they have a better appreciation for what we do. They can see that the court is here to not just here to punish people, we want to help those who've found themselves in a difficult situation."

We encourage your school to contact the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to see what kind of educational experience would best fit your curriculum.

Visits To The Justice Center

We can accommodate visits for middle school and high school students as long as they are booked at least a month in advance. We will provide a Judge to meet with the students and talk about what happens in the Court. The children can then ask questions (and there are usually quite a few!). Based on the day's dockets (hearings that are scheduled), students will then be escorted to courtrooms to observe trials and other legal proceedings. We do try to make sure they are appropriate for the age groups.

We cannot accommodate groups larger than 40 due to security and courtroom sizes.

Justice Center entrance
Judge visiting school

School Visits

For younger children, we usually recommend having a Judge come to your school, as the Justice Center can be a bit overwhelming for younger students. Also, younger students are generally discouraged from observing in the courtrooms due to the adult nature of the proceedings. If you do want to bring a group of younger children to the Justice Center, we will certainly accommodate you and have them visit a Judge in their courtroom!

Click here to request a Court visit to your school, a field trip to the Justice Center, or a student shadow opportunity.

Court In The Classroom

We are very proud of Court In The Classroom, which brings the Court to middle schools. During a 90 minute session, the students will see two actual cases. They are usually a plea change which includes a recitation of Constitutional rights, and a probation sentencing. We choose lower level cases and never ones that include a person in custody. For more information, please click the link below and take a look at our YouTube video. Click here for more information on Court In The Classroom.

One of the most important roles in the Court is jury service.

Our new jurors get to watch "Called To Serve," an introductory video about what they can expect when they are summoned to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. We encourage students and teachers to watch this as well to gain a better understanding of the public's key role in the judicial process!

Take a video tour!

The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court is part of the Justice Center complex in downtown Cleveland. Take a quick video tour of the Justice Center, the true heart of the county's legal system.

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How The Courts Work

Teachers can click here for a downloadable .pdf