The Delaware criminal justice system will provide the central theme for the 2010 Constitution Day observance at Widener Law, the only law school in America’s “First State” of Delaware. The school is celebrating the national Sept. 17 federal observance with an electronic resource through its website at law.widener.edu/constitution/2010
Now in its fifth year, the 2010 online project examines the system in which some of the most basic human rights – like liberty, equal treatment under the law, and the right to be innocent until proven guilty – are steeped. The criminal justice system touches all lives in its function to punish the guilty, deter potential criminals and, ultimately, safeguard society.
“We wanted to know how the current system is functioning,” Constitutional law Professor Alan E. Garfield
said. “Are those accused of a crime being fairly treated? Are the interests of the state and of crime victims being adequately respected? Can we be confident that justice is being served, or do changes need to be made to better achieve that end?”
Garfield has been an instrumental figure in the Constitution Day observance. He launched the online project and annually chooses a theme, solicits authors to write essays and, with law school Webmaster Cassandra King, packages them in an educational, user-friendly format. Portions of the collection will also be republished on the editorial pages of The News Journal, based in Wilmington, Del., through a partnership between the law school and the newspaper.
Garfield said the project was designed to capitalize on Widener’s location in the first state to ratify the Constitution, and it serves to enlighten the public about Constitution Day. He welcomes readers’ feedback through the website comments section.
Essay authors for the 2010 collection include:
- Delaware Superior Court Judge Mary Johnston
- Delaware Common Pleas Judge Andrea Rocanelli
- Delaware State Prosecutor Richard Andrews
- Deputy Attorney General Patricia Dailey-Lewis, director of the family division at the Delaware Department of Justice
- Private defense attorney Eugene J. Maurer Jr.
- Delaware Public Defender J. Brendan O’Neill
- ilmington Police Capt. Nancy S. Dietz
- Joseph Piner Jr., ex-offender
- Debra Puglisi Sharp, crime victim
- Widener Law Professor Judith L. Ritter, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at Widener, writing with University of Delaware graduate student Ross Kleinstuber
- Widener Law Associate Professor Dana Harrington Conner, director of the Delaware Civil Clinic at Widener.
“The website was created to give the public an opportunity to collectively celebrate Constitution Day,” Garfield said. “Widener Law is proud to lead this organized effort and we are grateful to the many distinguished authors who have contributed to our online collection over the years.”