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June 7, 2008

Will Our Courts game include sentencing (and have a Wii version)?

Princess_peach As detailed in this Reuters article, the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court has now "unveiled a videogame project ... to teach children how courts work, saying she wanted to counter partisan criticism that judges are 'godless' activists."  Here are more details:

Sandra Day O'Connor, 78, who served as U.S. Supreme Court justice from 1981 until her retirement in 2006, said she never imagined she would be asked to address a conference about digital gaming.  She said she got involved with developing the project called "Our Courts" out of concern over public ignorance about the judiciary and partisan attacks on what should be an independent institution....

She said the only way to preserve an independent judiciary was through public education, which she said was failing to produce citizens with enough knowledge about the three branches of U.S. government -- legislative, executive and judicial.  The Our Courts project will have two parts, O'Connor said. The first is on online interactive civics program designed to be used by children from 7th to 9th grades either to supplement existing courses or as a distinct unit in the curriculum....

She said the web site at http://www.ourcourts.org/ should have some initial material by this September and be fully operational with interactive elements a year later.

The second part of the project will be for young people to use in their free time, O'Connor said, noting that studies showed children spend around 40 hours a week using media, including computers, television, videogames or music. "If we can capture just a little bit of that time to get them thinking about government and civic engagement rather than playing shoot-'em-up video games, that's a huge step in the right direction," she said.

The Our Courts website already has a lot of useful links, and I am very excited that Justice O'Connor see the opportunity and the value of innovative ways to share her wisdom and ensure the judiciary gets the respect it deserved.  I look forward to watching this project develop (and will hope lots of sentencing content appears on-line, despite Justice O'Connor vocal opposition to the modern Apprendi-Blakely jurisprudence).  Over at TalkLeft, T Chris has this fitting reaction to this news:

After kids learn how to steal cars by playing Grand Theft Auto IV, they can learn what happens after a car theft arrest by playing Our Courts.

June 7, 2008 at 05:10 PM | Permalink


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A first-person shooter in a courthouse setting would be kinda cool. Try to make it past the metal detector, past the cops, past the bailiffs, and into the judge's chambers... then kill the judge who sentenced you, gave your money to your ex-wife, whatever.

Ya know, for the children.

PRIOR ART to anyone who steals the idea. I dedicate it to the public domain.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 8, 2008 12:16:00 AM

I wonder if this video game will have incentives for NOT ruling promptly on discovery-related motions.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jun 8, 2008 7:55:48 AM

hmmm, while I support the idea, I can't imagine that "Our Courts" is really going to be a big draw for children's free time. But I will gladly be proven wrong.

Posted by: lawschoolinmate | Jun 8, 2008 6:55:50 PM

I'm sure that the "snitch" and "perjury" modes will be quite popular.

Posted by: Zack | Jun 9, 2008 11:06:21 AM

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