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Inside the Courts Celebrates its 19th Year

Orange County Judge W. Michael Miller

This year’s Inside the Courts program was a resounding success. Marking its 19th year, the program is taught by Ninth Circuit Court judges and provides attendees with a behind-the-scenes look at the judicial system. During the free, interactive, four-evening program, judges present on a host of topics and the public is able to ask questions, such as:

•             What do judges consider when imposing sentences?

•             What happens to juveniles who break the law?

•             Are all individuals who are charged with a crime eligible for bail?

•             What is a domestic violence injunction?

The program was created in 1998 by Orange County Judge W. Michael Miller, who began his judicial career in 1991. Each year, Judge Miller plans and develops the individual sessions to spotlight areas of the law that are of particular interest to the community or that have been the subject of recent events. Judge Miller then recruits volunteer judges to make presentations on the topics and acts as moderator. The award-winning program has become a model for other community outreach programs across the country and has been identified by the Supreme Court as a successful community-focused initiative.

Held in the Jury Assembly Room of the Orange County Courthouse, the program is conducted on four consecutive Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Each evening is usually split into two sessions, allowing at least two judges to present on two topics per night, with the final night being a panel discussion between a group of judges and the attendees. 

Continuing education credits are routinely applied for and approved, allowing legal professionals, including court interpreters and court reporters, to earn credits for attending the sessions.   

This year’s program had a record turnout.  Over 170 persons attended the first night of the event, which focused on access to the courts, eclipsing last year’s highest one-day turnout of 167 attendees.  During the past 19 years, approximately 2,500 citizens have attended the program, and thousands more have viewed it on public access television.

When asked about the program’s success, Judge Miller remarked, “The participating judges and court personnel do an outstanding job, and the public’s response to Inside the Courts has been truly gratifying. In every respect, the program continues to exceed our expectations.”    

Next year’s program dates will be set at the end of this year. Please return then to this webpage and click on the following link Program Info to see updated information for the 2017 Inside the Courts program.