Four high school mock trial teams met on Thursday, Feb. 4th in Clinton for their first scrimmage between schools and to hear Billy Stover, who leads Kentucky’s mock trial program tell them what to expect in competition.
Carlisle County, Fulton County, and Hickman County High School are fielding their first teams. Fulton High School competed in Louisville last year. Mock trial teams are assigned a case to try. This year’s problem is a reckless homicide criminal case written by Clark County Judge Earl-Ray Neal. The Judge participated in mock trial competition as a young person and credits the program for his career choice.
On each high school team, roles are assigned that correspond to a trial settling. Students will portray attorneys for the prosecution and for the defense. Other students are cast as trial witnesses. At competition, one team of prosecutors and their witnesses will go up against another school’s defense and their witnesses. Student attorneys prepare opening and closing arguments and directly examine and cross examine witnesses. Witnesses are expected to stay in character, ready to take the stand, testify for their side and withstand cross examination.
Stover told the students that the competition in Louisville in March is fast paced. At this point, 34 teams have signed up. Volunteer judges, attorneys and law students judge the competition. Stovall said there will be seventeen courtrooms going at one time.
He advised the students that they will be nervous when they get to Louisville. “Everybody is nervous” he assured them.
Judge Timothy Langford took a break from court to visit with the students. He has served as a judge for the state mock trial competition for several years and will be a judge again this year.
Gifted and talented coordinator Brenda Mahan works with all four teams. Mahan is pleased that when Judge Langford suggested that Fulton, Carlisle and Hickman County form teams that the school systems were receptive.
Mahan acted as judge for the scrimmages. She told the students that the scrimmages were good experience because the students can see where the “rough spots” are.
They’ll be polishing those rough spots before they compete with other teams from across Kentucky.