TDT: Temple teen court: Carter shares legal knowledge with THS students

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U.S. Rep. John Carter talked about facts and logic and legal strategy at Temple High School’s Teen Court training Wednesday.

Carter, a Round Rock Republican, came to the school to tour the new Career and Technical Education Center, and he talked about things he learned in his career as a judge to students in a law class.

Freshman Hailey Garza, 14, said that she plans to become a lawyer and found Carter’s remarks interesting. She and Avery Sears, also 14, both said what interested them most about Carter’s reminiscences was the haphazard way the former judge pursued a law career.

“He never really decided to be a law student, but then at the last second he decided that maybe he’d want to do that,” Sears said.

Teen court at Temple High School tries actual cases, usually minor traffic offenses and small thefts on school property. Students take turns serving as the defense attorney, the prosecutor and a member of the jury. Carter gave them tips on how to argue a case in a traffic offense.

“Any lawyer that goes into court has got to know all the facts that are available to that lawyer as it relates to their case, whether you’re trying a murder case with a death penalty request or you’re trying a speeding ticket,” Carter said. “You’ve got to know what your witness is going to say.”

Carter encouraged those acting for the defense to look deeply into technical issues, such as when a police officer’s radar detector was last calibrated.

Carter said he was highly impressed with the high school’s new CTE Center, which opened this semester. Career and technical education is one of Carter’s favorite issues.

“I spend a lot of time touring industry not only here but all over the state, and I kept hearing over and over, ‘We are really, really short in the trades — we need welders, we need machinists,’” Carter said.

The congressman noted that students who study a trade can often begin earning a high salary earlier than they might if they go to college instead.

“A good master welder makes six figures,” Carter said. “And if you are an athlete and become an underwater welder, $250,000 is the starting salary for an underwater welder on a drilling rig. … You can go to college for a long time and not make that much money.”

Carter said he hopes for more cultural and social support for young people choosing a trade like welding over pursuing a college degree in the future.

“I want a kid that decides to work with their hands and has those skills to be just as proud of what they’re doing for a living as a person that goes off to college and gets a degree,” he said.