Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Page 3


Court to Host Training Session for Consular Officials


By a MetNews Staff Writer


More than 50 Los Angeles representatives of foreign nations are scheduled to attend a daylong training session tomorrow on assisting their constituents who become involved with the U.S. legal system.

Officials from the consulates of Argentina, Belize, China, France, Latvia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Thailand are among those planning to attend, according to a list of participants released by the Los Angeles Superior Court. About 40 nations are expected to be represented.

The morning portion of the event, at the downtown Stanley Mosk Courthouse, will include presentations on workplace discrimination, family law, and traffic court. Participants are also scheduled to tour the downtown Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in the afternoon.

The Superior Court and the Los Angeles County Office of Protocol invited the foreign officials and the sessions have been put together by the court’s Community Outreach Committee, chaired by Judge Richard Fruin, a press release describing the event explained.

In a statement released by the court, Presiding Judge Robert A. Dukes, who is scheduled to welcome the diplomats, declared:

“Individuals often develop attitudes toward the courts that are based on their homeland experience. Those attitudes can get in the way of justice when they don’t apply here.”

Highlights of the conference morning schedule are:

•A presentation on fairness issues by Judge Judith Chirlin; attorney Kathleen Dixon, who directs the Superior Court’s self-represented litigants’ programs; and Greg Drapac, manager of the court’s interpreter services.

•A discussion of jurisdictional differences between state, federal and administrative courts by Judge Peter Espinoza;

•A panel on family law, dependency and delinquency with Commissioners Gretchen Taylor and Martha Bellinger and Referee Sherri Sobel;

•A presentation led by Judge William Highberger on worker discrimination, retaliation and harassment.

•A discussion of traffic infractions, warrants and automobile insurance requirements by Traffic Courts Supervising Judge David Sotelo.

In the afternoon, Criminal Courts Supervising Judge David Wesley will conduct a walking tour of the criminal courts building, discussing bail, arraignment, appointment of counsel, suppression motions, preliminary hearings, plea bargains, trials and sentencing. The attendees will view the defendants’ intake area and holding cells.

Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis is scheduled to discuss sentencing options, California’s three-strikes’ law, immigration consequences and the international transfer of prisoners. The afternoon session is to conclude with a presentation on drug court by Judge Michael Tynan.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company