New London Mayor Ronald W. Nossek echoed Judge Handys
words when he said, in his welcoming remarks, "Today you have had the opportunity to
tour the oldest working courthouse in the United States. It doesnt take much to see
the beauty of its architecture. One can only imagine the stories that must have come from
within these walls."
The Courthouse, which was built in 1784 and expanded in 1983,
was abuzz with activity on this particular Saturday. Kids rushed around to have their
pictures taken on the bench adorned in a judges robe with gavel in their hands and
with their arms wrapped around McGruff the Crime Dog, the UConn Husky mascot or Smokey the
"Look at me, I am the Judge," one excited little
boy said to the gathered crowd, while rapping the gavel.
Joining in the days festivities was the Hon. Robert C.
Leuba, Chief Court Administrator at the State Judicial Branch, sponsor of the days
"The Judicial Branch hopes that, through opening our
doors to the community and offering a glimpse of our courthouses throughout the state,
that we can better serve our citizens," Judge Leuba said.
In addition to tours of the Courthouse and lockup, the
days activities included face painting, encounters with wandering clowns and
magicians, storytelling by the United States Coast Guard Academys Cadet Book Buddies
and demonstrations by the New London Police and Fire Departments.
Many citizens gathered around resource tables to question
Judicial Branch representatives from various divisions including the Clerks office,
Victims Services, Interpreters Offfice, Caseflow Management, Adult Probation, Family
Support and Juvenile Matters.
A dance performance by Edgerton Middle School students
punctuated the official greetings. The Judicial Branch recognized seven volunteers for
their contributions to the branch: Mary Highmore of New London, Marcia Clapp of Mystic,
Joseph Stafford and Jacqueline Owens of Norwich, Robert Radway and Stuart Fishbone of
Waterford and Vionca Albert of Groton.
At days end, it was clear that a celebration had taken
place, from the many balloons that clung to the ceiling of stately Courtroom One.
"It adds to the décor, dont you think," said
Judge Handy as she smiled at a youngster on the bench before her bedecked in a robe.