JAG in Jerusalem
In December of 1982 when 3 year-old Michael Manning was reported missing, JAG was not on the horizon. But three of JAG’s judges were deeply involved in the ensuing case. Judge Neighbors ordered Michael’s mother Elizabeth to bring him to court and when she failed to do so, Judge Richtel found her in contempt and jailed her. After spending 100 days in jail Manning pointed the finger at her boy friend Danny Arevalo. Judge Richtel tried Arevalo’s murder trial and Judge Dana handled Manning’s case.
Now forty years later, the case has now found its way to Jerusalem. Judge Richtel who has taught at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law each fall semester for the last 15 years is using the Arevalo case as the focal point of his class Anatomy of a Murder. The class is not taught at Hebrew University but rather at the American Colony Hotel a “neutral” site in Jerusalem. His students are not only Israelis; half are Palestinians from Al Quds University. Each week the students are asked to put themselves in the shoes of the judge and to make the decisions he made during the course of the trial. By the end of the semester they will have deliberated and arrived at a verdict following the instructions used in the case. They will have also sentenced Arevalo using his actual Presentence Investigation Report. This will be the sixth year that Judge Richtel has successfully managed to bring Israeli and Palestinian students to the classroom to study together.