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New Dorp High School student wins Judge Miller’s annual essay contest

Two Students from New Utrecht Among Finalists

May 25, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Ten finalists of Justice Robert J. Miller’s annual essay contest were invited to the NYC Bar Association on Tuesday for a ceremony. Pictured from left: Hon. Robert J. Miller, essay contest winner Alyssa Marcus, from New Dorp High School in Staten Island, Hon. Michael J. Garcia and Hon. Marguerite A. Grays. Eagle photo by Edward King
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A student from New Dorp High School in Staten Island was this year’s winner of Justice Robert J. Miller’s annual Law Day Essay contest that is sponsored by the Association of Judges and the New York Law Journal. Two Brooklyn students were among the finalists.

This year’s winner was Alyssa Marcus from New Dorp.

The two finalists from Brooklyn were Connie Soo and Steven Liu, both New Utrecht High School students.

Each year students from all over New York City submit essays based on the Law Day theme. This year’s theme is “Separation of Powers.” Justice Miller picks from hundreds of submissions and the top 10 finalists are invited to the New York City Bar Association for a ceremony.

“The separation of powers provides us with a framework for government,” said Associate Justice Michael J. Garcia, of the NYS Court of Appeals. “If you look at Madison and Hamilton, they were laying this out in the Constitution more than 200 years ago anticipating the challenges ahead. That doctrine has been in place for a long time exactly for the reasons we use it today.”

Part of the ceremony includes a speech by Justice Miller where he explains how the local court system works. Justice Miller sits in the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, and he also invites judges from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals to further explain the differences between the courts. Justice Marguerite A. Grays, the deputy administrative judge of the Queens County Supreme Court, represented the Supreme Court; and Hon. Michael J. Garcia represented the NYS Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state.

“We have the trial level court, the Supreme Court, the court of original jurisdiction in New York,” Justice Miller explained. “When people are happy with the results at the trial level, they have the ability to go up to the Appellate Division. Then based on the circumstances have the ability to appeal to the Court of Appeals. We have judges from each level of the courts.”

The essay contest winner has her essay published in the New York Law Journal and all of the finalists win $100 and have the opportunity to get a summer internship within the courts.

“This is the first step, hopefully, to a wonderful career in law,” Justice Grays said. “I hope these essays have inspired you and intrigued you so that you want to continue to explore a career in the law. Please take some time out and come visit me, or one of the courts that are close to you, to visit and see how it operates. You’re always welcome to come visit me, but don’t bring me any business.”

Other finalists included Gianluca Arriagada Eng, from Harvest Collegiate High School; Fernando Nova, from Harry S. Truman High School; Zakira Naim, from Hillcrest High School; Michael Gatti, from New Dorp High School; Haley Resnick, from Eleanor Roosevelt High School; Samantha Ngo, from Stuyvesant High School; and Thursday Williams from Bryant High School.


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