The American Bar Association’s theme for Law Day Live 2012 is: No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom.
The theme underscores the importance of the courts and their role in ensuring access to justice for all Americans. Open and accessible courts are the cornerstone of a free society. They are fundamental to our way of life. People turn to courts to provide them with a fair and impartial forum to reach a just result. The courts are where people go to have their rights protected, their injuries redressed, and their disputes fairly resolved.
The framers of our Constitution recognized the importance of the courts when they made the Judiciary one of the three independent and co-equal branches of our government. The work of the courts affects everyday life, whether those in court are consumers or corporations, victims or criminal defendants, lenders or debtors, parents or children or average citizens called for jury duty.
The American Bar Association has noted that across the nation, budgetary constraints have compromised the ability of our courts to function effectively and keep the wheels of justice turning. Across the nation, many courts have been forced into hiring freezes, pay cuts, furloughs, staff layoffs, increased filing fees, reduced hours, and facility closures.
Nevada’s courts have not been spared from these measures.
Yet, as the ABA Task Force on the Preservation of the Justice System stated, “The same recession that has led to…reduced access to our justice system has obviously increased the numbers of people who need it.”
In Nevada, Law Day 2012 will also explore a principal role of the courts in protecting the rights of individuals while preserving the ability of law enforcement and government to protect Nevada’s citizens.
Much of Law Day Live – an innovative webcast Internet forum on April 26 – will focus on the privacy rights case of Nevada rancher Larry D. Hiibel that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Hiibel was arrested and convicted in Winnemucca, Nevada for refusing to identify himself to a police officer who suspected he was involved in a reported assault. Mr. Hiibel contended it was his right under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to refuse to identify himself. He appealed his conviction to the Nevada Supreme Court, which affirmed his conviction, and then to the United States Supreme Court, which also upheld the conviction in a 5-4 decision.
Law Day Live will connect schools in three Nevada communities – including Winnemucca – through video technology.