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Chief Justice Hunstein part of Law Day observance

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein will be part of today's annual observance of National Law Day in Jonesboro.

Hunstein will be introduced by Clayton County Superior Court Chief Judge Deborah Benefield. Clayton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steve Teske said Benefield's role in the ceremonies is only fitting.

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Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein

"The chief justice and Judge Benefield share similar pathways," he said. "Both had the distinction to be the first elected (female) Superior Court judge in their respective counties and pursued the elimination of bias in the justice system."

The event, to be held in the Clayton County Youth Development and Justice Center in the Youth Policy and Law Center, is open to the public and starts at 12 p.m.

Law Day celebrates the rule of law, said Teske.

"It underscores how law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share," he said. "Law Day also provides an opportunity to recognize the role of courts in this democracy and the importance of jury service to maintaining the integrity of the courts."

The 2013 theme is "Realizing the Dream," which is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

"The promise of equality under the law is what has made America a beacon to other nations," said Teske. "It is a pledge clearly set forth in the Declaration of Independence and in the opening words of the preamble of the Constitution, 'We the People.'"

Hunstein was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1992 and served as chair of the Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness, which was charged with implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Gender Bias and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias.

Her work to bring fairness and equality in the law has resulted in numerous recognitions including the Commitment to Equality Award from the State Bar of Georgia Committee on Women and Minorities in the Profession.

Hunstein has also served with Teske on the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council established by Gov. Nathan Deal to recommend reforms to the adult and juvenile justice systems. The result were sweeping changes in the laws.

"These changes will reduce racial and ethnic disparities that exist in our adult and juvenile justice systems," said Teske.