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31 high school teams to compete for state title at mock trial tournament March 16-18 in Louisville


Teams will argue Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Morgan Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky., March 12, 2012 – Thirty-one high school mock trial teams from across the commonwealth will converge in Louisville on Friday, March 16, to vie for the state title in the Kentucky High School Mock Trial Tournament. The tournament will take place Friday-Sunday, March 16-18, at the Jefferson County Judicial Center at 700 W. Jefferson St. The public and media are invited to observe the competition.

The team that wins the championship round Sunday will compete in the National High School Mock Trial Tournament that will take place May 3-6 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson and Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Denise G. Clayton will open the state competition with remarks at 11:45 a.m. EDT Friday at the judicial center. Justice Abramson and Judge Clayton represent Jefferson County on their respective courts.

The 31 mock trial teams scheduled to compete represent 27 Kentucky high schools.

Eight Louisville schools have teams that will participate in the tournament: Central High School, duPont Manual High School (two teams), Eastern High School, Louisville Collegiate School, Mercy Academy, Sacred Heart Academy, Saint Xavier High School and Western High School.

Three Madison County high schools will be represented by teams at the competition: Madison Central High School, Madison Southern High School and Model Laboratory School. Madison Central and Model Laboratory are located in Richmond and Madison Southern is in Berea. Clark Moores Middle School in Richmond, the 2011 and 2012 state middle school mock trial champion, will participate to make an even number of teams for the competition. Middle schools are not eligible for the national competition.

Teams from four Northern Kentucky schools will contend for the state title: Dixie Heights High School in Fort Mitchell, Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Newport Central Catholic High School in Newport and Larry A. Ryle High School in Union.

Ashland and Paducah each have two schools with teams in the tournament: Boyd County High School and Paul G. Blazer High School from Ashland (two teams) and Paducah Tilghman High School (two teams) and St. Mary High School from Paducah.

The other teams scheduled to compete are from Breckinridge County High School in Harned, Bullitt East High School in Mount Washington, Carlisle County High School in Bardwell, Carroll County High School in Carrollton, Hickman County High School in Clinton, Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling (two teams), Russell Independent High School in Russell and Webster County High School in Dixon.

Students will argue the case of Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Morgan Smith for the competition. In the fictional case, retired Robbinsville police officer Morgan Smith is on trial for the murder of Christy Rose, who was a dispatcher for the police department when Smith was an officer. The two began a romantic relationship after Smith retired. Rose died after being shot once in the chest in the parking lot of a condominium complex. Smith was charged with murder after ballistic tests determined that a handgun in his possession was used to shoot Rose.

District Judge Earl-Ray Neal, who serves Clark and Madison counties, wrote the competition case.

Teams will participate in at least four rounds of competition, arguing the case with a different team in every round. Each team will be assigned the role of the prosecution and the defense at least once. Team members also portray other individuals in the case, such as witnesses.

Judges score the teams in each round and the scores are totaled to determine the winner. The teams learn their scores after the last round of trials. Court of Appeals judges, circuit and district judges, attorneys and law students judge the competition.

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