Sacramento Judge Leads High School Summer Academy


Laurie Earl knows the law — as a public defender who represented people accused of a crime, then on the other side of the aisle as a deputy district attorney who prosecuted them, and finally, as a judge. And for the first time, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Laurie Earl will share her unique perspective with high school students at Sacramento State this summer.

The College of Continuing Education recruited Judge Earl for its 2015 Summer Academies for High School Students. She will lead the Civic Duty Academy, an interactive workshop that will show teens how the American government and judicial system affect their lives every day.

“I think civics is a very important topic our high school kids need to understand as they grow into adults,” Earl says. “They need to know their civic responsibilities, what it means to live in our system of democracy and what it means to have a direct role in decisions that are made for members of our community.”

Earl plans to take students on field trips to the State Capitol and the county courthouse. They will meet elected officials including Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who has prosecuted more than 100 jury trials and created the cold case homicide unit in the district attorney’s office.

The judge promises hands-on learning in a fun and supportive environment — whether it’s learning to present a closing argument or debating the merits of a legislative bill.

“I want to give them the opportunity to see how government can come alive for them and how to be active in it. They are going to be expected to interact with each other, to ask questions and to probe things.” And with a smile she adds: “They’re going to have to be pretty brave to take this class.”

Earl has served on the bench for 10 years and was elected by her peers as Presiding Judge of Sacramento Superior Court from 2012 – 2013. She now handles cases involving abused and neglected children in the county’s Juvenile Dependency Court. “I get to be kind of a social worker and a coach. And at the same time, I get to look up the law and study the law.”

In additon to Civic Duty, the other new academy for 2015 is Multimedia Journalism featuring media professionals from KXTV-News10 and The Sacramento Bee.