The New Jersey Judiciary just released a video to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
The latest in a series of videos that celebrate its talented and diverse workforce, the video features NJSBA President Evelyn Padin and takes a look at the impact and legacy of the 1971 NJ Supreme Court decision in State vs. Shack.
Padin is joined by Assignment Judge Julio L. Mendez and Maria Cortes of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey to discuss the legacy of the case and the contributions Latinos make to New Jersey.
The case centers on two activists who went to a private farm to provide legal and medical aid to migrant workers who lived and worked on the property. The farm owner refused to allow them to provide a private legal consultation, insisting it could only happen in his presence. The activists were convicted in municipal court of trespassing. A trial court and appeals court affirmed the conviction, but the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed and acquitted the activists. They found tenants have a right to receive visitors, even over the rights of property owners.
"When it comes to ensuring people with human dignity and having access to justice, such as legal services and medical care that it would trump an owners' property rights... if it would ensuring the well-being of human beings and that resonates even through today," said Padin.