The U.S. District Court for the District of Maine held its first “Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions” Program on Monday, May 20, 2019. Twenty-two students and their teacher from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School attended the half-day program at the Edward T. Gignoux U.S. Courthouse in Portland.
In addition to Chief Judge Jon D. Levy, the volunteers who facilitated the first program are:Peter G. Cary, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Maine; Christa K. Berry, Clerk of Court for the District of Maine; Eric M. Storms, Deputy Clerk for the District of Maine; J. Hilary Billings, Esq., Assistant Federal Defender; Halsey B. Frank, Esq., United States Attorney; Richard W. Murphy, Esq., First Assistant United States Attorney; Zachary L. Heiden, Esq., Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Maine;Valerie Z. Wicks, Esq., of Johnson, Webbert & Young, LLP; Karen Frink Wolf, Esq., of Verrill Dana LLP; and Sara P. Cressey, Esq., Law Clerk to Chief Judge Jon D. Levy
The feedback from students who participated in the program was positive and enthusiastic. Students reported leaving the experience equipped with new tools to engage in civil discourse, including active listening, being respectful of others, and keeping an open mind when others express opinions that differ from one’s own. The students also expressed their appreciation for the civil manner by which lawyers and judges address complex issues, resolve disputes, and uphold the rule of law.
The second Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions Program will take place on June 6, 2019, with students from Greely High School.
For more information about this program and how schools can sign up to participate, please contact Christa K. Berry, Clerk of Court, at Christa_Berry@med.uscourts.gov or (207) 780-3356.