A high school senior in Costa Mesa won the $500 top award Friday in the third annual Law Day writing contest for a story about his first awareness that other countries do not guarantee the same freedoms as the United States.
Greg Palme of Estancia High School wrote about how police in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, handcuffed and jailed a group of students who were seeking aid for an injured friend during a March, 1982, camping trip.
Refusing to allow them to make any telephone calls, police put the students in filthy cells for several days before their parents hired a Mexican lawyer to get them out, he wrote. While in jail, they learned that their friend, who had fallen off a cliff, had died.
"The freedoms and protection of the law that the young Americans took for granted were not part of a foreign legal system," Palme wrote in his essay.