New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/27/08
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Director of Commuications
732-937-7524

Kinnelon High School Student Andrew Scarpelli Wins State Bar’s Black History Month Essay Contest

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Kinnelon High School student Andrew Scarpelli was awarded first place on February 25, in the 2008 Black History Month Contest for New Jersey High School Students for his essay on Racial Disparity in the Application of Justice entitled, An American Tragedy. The contest, sponsored by the Minorities in the Profession Section, Diversity Committee and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, is designed to give New Jersey high school students a forum on a current, controversial topic. The awards were presented at a reception at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.

In this year’s contest students were asked to focus on recent events in Jena, Louisiana, which some believe may spark a new civil rights movement. At issue is the disparity between the punishment meted out to Black students and White students for racially motivated actions.

In his essay, Mr. Scarpelli discusses racial profiling and the conclusion that African American males are more likely to receive harsher punishments than White American males for the same or similar crimes. He states that “…in a nation that is so brilliantly designed, where liberty and justice is insured for all, there are still racial barriers and disparities that exist.” He further points out that “…the reality is that much prejudice still does exist, especially in the Deep South of the United States. In particular, these injustices are still seen today within the criminal justice system.”

Mr. Scarpelli concludes with this thought – “…The land of the free is not so free if many are in the captivity of injustice.”

For his first place effort, Mr. Scarpelli received a $250 American Express Gift Card/Cheque and a plaque.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice. Visit the Association’s website at www.njsba.com.

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