Hickman County's mock trial team
Hickman County High Mock Trial team: front row l to r: Teacher Chad Wells, Jade Florence, Sidney Harrison, Casey Brockwell, Kannedy Yarbro, Caity Kyle, Emily Mulcahy, Abby Murphy, Marina Guess, Jamie Bolen. Back row: Michael Galuska, Mary Potter, Cody Whitlock, Amanda Blalock and Kelsey Gargus,
(Louisville, March 17, 2012) Was Morgan Smith a cold blooded murderer who shot a former girlfriend, Christy Rose, down in the parking lot of her condominium?
Or was Morgan Smith defending his own life when the shot rang out that ended Christy Rose’s life?
Those were the questions that thirty one mock trial teams from all over Kentucky argued in Louisville last weekend. Mock trial teams are made up of six roles for students to portray attorneys, three for the prosecution and three for the defense, and six roles for witnesses, three for prosecution and three for defense. Each team brings a student timekeeper, a teacher and attorney coach.
Mock Trial State Tournament is sponsored by the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Court and held in the Jefferson County Judicial Center on West Jefferson Street. Each round of the competition pits a prosecution team from one school against a defense team from another. Real court judges, attorneys and law students score competitors on knowledge of the facts, the law and their courtroom presentation.
Teams are not allowed to identify themselves to each other or to competition judges until after the competition ends. Students are expected to know a shortened version of the federal rules of evidence and to apply that knowledge to the facts of the case. In the words of the Kentucky Court of Justice webpage, “to make a logical, cohesive and persuasive presentation rather than on the legal merits of the case.” Ky mock trial homepage
The winner of this year’s competition was Montgomery County High’s Red Team. Since 1985, the first year of the competition in Kentucky, Montgomery County has won eleven times. The team gets a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico in early May to participate in the national mock trial event.
Several Jackson Purchase schools participate in the program. Paducah Tilghman, St. Marys, Hickman and Carlisle County sent teams to Louisville. Students from far western Kentucky were in Louisville in time to be on the spot during the exciting NCAA competition at the Yum Center. Their local Murray State Racers were there also to win a round then lose out in the next.
Some students reported seeing UK coach Calipari and several of his team. Hickman County students who didn’t get their photo taken with Calipari settled for a picture standing next to the UK bus. Being there is a memory they all want to have in the years to come.
Mock trial is celebrated as being one of the best ways to teach students about the legal system. Proving Morgan Smith’s guilt or innocence was not the point this year. It was making his case that mattered.