Law & Justice

Law Day—Yorktown Style

Town Justice Sal Lagonia, attorney Gary Cusano and Town Justice Gary Raniolo

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Every year, the United States celebrates May 1 as “Law Day.” The designation was started by President Dwight E. Eisenhower in 1958, when his chief legal counsel Charles Rhyne suggested to the president that our country needed a special day to reflect upon the rule of law and how the law affects our lives. At the proclamation of Law Day, Eisenhower stated, “If civilization is to survive, it must choose the rule of law.”

While Law Day is not a government holiday and you won’t get the day off from work, many legal associations will hold Law Day programs to focus on aspects of the law that every citizen should understand. They hold luncheons and feature legal speakers to discuss justice and legal liberties. Here in Yorktown, we have a very special way of celebrating this very important day; by educating our very young in the meaning of their Constitution.

Each year, students of the Mohansic School are given a make-believe criminal case and get to participate in the trial of that case in the Yorktown Justice Court before our two judges. They may have to put Goldilocks on the stand and ask her why she broke into the home of the three little pigs. Or, perhaps, they will cross examine the Wicked Witch of the West to determine why she was trying to steal those ruby slippers from Dorothy. There are always objections, a few gavel strikes to quiet the gallery, and, of course, a verdict. And yes, the cutest costumes you can imagine. In the end, the children are given a glimpse into the real world of right and wrong, good and evil, and the workings of the court system. This year's event begins at 9 a.m. Monday, May 1.

Sign Up for E-News

The children always want to know why I wear a robe in the courtroom; a tradition that began many years ago. A judge wears a robe as a symbol of authority, yes; but it is more than that. If you travel to other countries, judges usually wear brightly colored and ornate robes; in the United States it is plain black. The reason is simple. The robe reminds the public of the authority of the judge, but the simplicity of the robe reminds the judge that the robe should be worn humbly. My own traditions, such as keeping a copy of the Constitution next to me in court, helps to focus on the limits of the court and the important shared responsibility.

As we look forward to this year’s crop of new Clarence Darrows and their teachers, we should all take just a few moments to reflect on the importance of this day and the fact that too many people elsewhere in the world do not have that option. Perhaps, today would be a great day for all citizens to pick up a copy of that great document and reflect along with the rest of us, on the rule of law. We welcome everyone, to come and see the Mohansic students, teach their parents well.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


It Was the Economy That Got Trump Elected

I am not easily shocked by much anymore. Yet, I was by last week’s column by fellow columnist Bernie Kosberg. Kosberg, whose column runs regularly in Mahopac News and sometimes in Yorktown News, said in the first paragraph: “Several readers decried my conclusion that the overwhelming support of Putnam County voters for Trump was not due to economic anxiety or the unavailability of ...

Challenging the Norm

In his thoughtful work, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” Thomas Kuhn reflects on the revolutionary contributions of such giants as Copernicus, Newton, Darwin and Einstein. But he is quick to remind us that it’s often the scientists whose names we never hear of who make the vast majority of scientific progress. These hardworking men and women spend most of their waking ...

BOCES… What’s in a Name?

Do you ever wonder what BOCES stands for? We associate the name with a center of learning that supplements the general curriculum of local high schools by teaching students specialized trades. Beyond that, does everyone in the non-BOCES population, those who have no direct connection to the programs, fully appreciate the priceless value it brings to our communities’ young adults and their ...

Dog Allergies, Part Deux

“I have some good news and I have some bad news,” I told my husband.

“Give me the good news first.”

“OK. The vet doesn’t think the dog’s ear infections are from a food allergy after all, so we don’t have to keep feeding him that hypo-allergenic food,” I said.

“Hallelujah,” shouted my husband. He was understandably ...

Postcard Criticisms Were Valid

May 23, 2018

In an article from the May 1 issue (“Yorktown Councilmembers Receive ‘Disturbing’ Postcards”), Councilman Ed Lachterman said he was “disturbed” to receive a colored postcard from a constituent. He seems confused as to what it might mean.

I did not write that rainbow-colored postcard, but I can try to help him out of his confusion, because I and plenty ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, May 25, 10:30 AM

Yorktown Community Cultural Center, YORKTOWN HEIGHTS

Tai Chi for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Navajo Fields, Yorktown

Kids Gaelic Football Tournament


Sat, May 26, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Yorktown Youth Soccer Club Roundup

May 18, 2018

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown’s Girls U9 Team, the Hurricanes, defeated the Poughkeepsie Fireflies with a 1-0 win at Hunterbrook Field in Yorktown.

Hurricane’s goalies Cameron Parise and Avery Pugliese shut out the Poughkeepsie offense with several key saves. Yorktown controlled the ball throughout the game with outstanding performances by midfielders Samantha Nastasi, Macey ...