From left, DeKalb Police Chief Mirtha Ramos, graduate Bill Markert, Chief Judge Berryl A. Anderson at graduation. CONTRIBUTED

DeKalb Magistrate Court’s People’s Law School graduates second class

DeKalb residents from 24 different ZIP codes graduated from the second annual DeKalb Magistrate Court’s “People’s Law School” on Nov. 4, joining the 47 graduates from last year’s inaugural class, according to a press release.

The free, four-week program provides DeKalb residents with a general overview of the court system in Georgia, with a special emphasis on DeKalb’s Magistrate Court. The noncredit curriculum included instruction on civil, criminal, ordinance and mental health matters.

These classes were led by Chief Magistrate Judge Berryl A. Anderson, along with DeKalb County Marshal Richard I. Berkowitz, Clerk of State and Magistrate Courts R. Javoyne Hicks and the magistrate judges who supervise the various divisions of the court. The graduation speaker was DeKalb Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos.

The residents in this class come from diverse backgrounds and experiences including: a student in her 70s who loves to zip-line, four students who play various musical instruments, two students originally from Guyana, one student originally from Canada, nurse practitioners, teachers, a retired television news producer, two transplant recipients, and two students who were born in the old DeKalb Medical Center.

“I was delighted by the interest shown again this year in our People’s Law School,” Judge Anderson said. “The participants were brimming with enthusiasm during every class, and kept us on our toes with their insightful questions. Our court is grateful to the residents of DeKalb for their continued strong support of this program. I’m looking forward to the Class of 2020.”

The People’s Law School was created in response to outpouring of requests from parents who accompanied their children to DeKalb Magistrate Court’s annual program for middle and high school students, “Magistrate Court 101.” Over the last few years the program has been modified to accommodate children in one courtroom and adults in another, when adults also wanted to learn about the courts. Judge Anderson created the People’s Law School as a way to continue to find innovative ways to educate DeKalb residents on the various components of the Magistrate Court.

Applications for next People’s Law School class will open in the summer of 2020.

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