Teenagers take part in District Attorney’s leadership academy

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 6:51 PM EDT

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - There wasn’t a real trial going on in the courtroom today but the message behind it is real.

District Attorney Ben David’s leadership camp is giving teenagers like Cara Allen an introduction into the legal system.

“We learned how to do opening statements, how to question witnesses, how to introduce evidence, how to do closing arguments,” Allen said. “This is a really neat opportunity to kind of get more experience.”

Cara has aspirations of being an attorney, and this week has been a sneak peek of what daily life might be like one day.

Avery Braithwaite says the experience changed her outlook on what the judicial system is all about.

“To me, the legal system was about punishment before coming into this camp. And now I can see how it’s such a place for rehabilitation, especially in Wilmington, talking to the sheriff, the chief of police and Ben David has been so enlightening on how everybody in this community can do better to support those who need it, not just try and punish them,” Braithwaite said.

“Ben David talks a lot about how there’s not bad people, it’s good people with bad problems. And so it’s an approach to prosecution that I had not necessarily heard as widely before. And I think that’s hugely important. And it was very encouraging as a youth in this community to hear our leaders taking that approach. And it was definitely very inspiring to me and an approach that I would like to take and consider as I’m going forward in my career.,” Allen said.

For Ben David and his staff, investing a week’s worth of time and effort will be worth it if his message of helping others gets across.

“This week has been devoted to our young people becoming leaders in our community,” Ben David said. “Young people provide the solutions to a lot of the problems that are plaguing this community. And what I’ve seen this week really gives me great hope for the future of our area.”

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