The 2017 Law Day Essay Contest is closed and winners are listed below. Check back in January 2018 for our next contest topic!

We are pleased to announce our Twelfth (12th) Annual Law Day Essay Contest (2017 Law Day Essay Contest) .

This year's (2017) contest, in keeping with the national spirit of celebrating the 14th Amendment, focuses on the 50th Anniversary of the In re: Gault decision. Gault was a watershed decision in the area of juvenile law in the United States.

Our Law Day Essay Contest is designed to encourage young people to think about the role of law in society and how law affects their everyday lives, even at a young age. Local Juvenile Court Judge Warren Caswell has sponsored this contest each year since opening his practice in Madison County and has continued the tradition throughout his service on the bench. Law Day, May 1st of each year, was first proclaimed by President Eisenhower in 1958. Law Day is a day of national dedication to the principle of government under law so that we all can strengthen our American heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law.

The 2017 Northern Judical Circuit Juvenile Court Twelfth Annual Law Day Essay Contest is open to students in the 9th-12th grades residing in Elbert, Franklin, Hart, Madison & Oglethorpe counties. Students who are in the care of the Northern Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court are also eligible regardless of where they are currently placed. Essays will be judged primarily on how well the student supports his/her arguments. Additionally, essays will be judged based upon format, clarity, style, creativity and overall effort. As always essays will not be judged based upon the ultimate answer or position taken.

Background Information for Essay:

Gerald Francis Gault was fifteen years old when he was arrested for making an obsence phone call. Gault had previously been on probation through the juvenile court. At the time of this arrest (phone call) the police did not leave notice with Gault's parents, both of whom were at work. After a hearing before a juvenile court judge, Gualt was ordered incarcerated until he reached the age of 21. Gault appealed and in an 8-1 decision the Supreme Court held that in order to comply with the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constiution children accused of a crime must be afforded the same minimal protections (except the right to a jury trial) as all adults. Specifically, the child and his/her parents must receive adequate notice, be informed of the right to counsel, be given the opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses and be provided adequate safeguards against self-incrimination. This year we are asking you to decide which of the four rights (notice, counsel, confrontation & cross-examination, or protection from self-incrimination) was most important and why.


Considering the above background information, compose an essay answering this question: Of the four rights specfically granted to children by the Supreme Court in a criminal hearing, which is the most important and why?

Entrants should choose a definite position pertaining to the topic and write a persuasive essay for their chosen position. The essay should attempt to balance their desired goal with the direction of our law and Constitution.

First Prize is a $500.00 cash scholarship while the runner-up will receive a $200 Cash Scholarship. Essays must be postmarked by April 15, 2017 to be eligible for consideration. The winners will be announced on May 1st 2017. The winning essays will be published on our website and the manuscript will be submitted to the student's local newspaper, in addition to the cash prize. Additional information on the contest can be found here: Announcement

All entries must be accompanied by a completed and signed entry form available here.
Entry Form


The purpose of the Law Day Essay Contest is to encourage students to think about the role of law in American Government and how they interact with law on a daily basis- even as youths. The winning entries are posted below in Adobe pdf format.

2017 Winners

1st Place Miss Elizabeth Johnson

2nd Place Mr. Jackson Caruso

2016 Winners

1st Place Miss Samantha Kincaid

2nd Place Mr. Eric Whitmire

2015 Winners

1st Place Mr. Andrew S. Zemaitis

2nd Place Miss Hannah Smith

2014 Winners

1st Place Mr. Zachary Tellano

2nd Place Mr. Andrew S. Miller

2013 Winners

1st Place Mr. Andrew S. Miller

2nd Place Mr. Zachary Tellano

2012 Winners

1st Place Miss Amanda Eubanks

2nd Place Miss Hannah Smith

2011 Winners

1st Place Miss Amanda Eubanks

2nd Place Miss Madeline Yearwood

2009 Winners

1st Place Mr. Hoyt Henshaw

2nd Place Miss Collin Bryant

2008 Winners

1st Place Mr. Dallas Porterfield

2nd Place Miss Kalie Hall