Students Head to Court, Tackle Timely Issue in Mock Trial Competition
More than 3,000 high school students will enter courtrooms across the state on Friday to take part in the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s (OCLRE) 34th Annual Ohio Mock Trial Competition.
In this year’s fictitious case, Pat Justice v. CAT News et al., students will consider the defamation of a public official by a news station. Gov. Pat Justice speaks at a school assembly. Afterward, he meets with the school principal and an argument ensues. Gov. Justice leaves abruptly, and the principal is found dead from a brain aneurysm. A student who overheard the argument reports to a local news outlet that Gov. Justice killed the principal. While the student’s account is quickly disproven, the story goes viral. The governor loses a bid for re-election and files civil suit against the news station, alleging defamation.
Each Ohio Mock Trial team consists of five to 11 students who assume the roles of witnesses and attorneys to present both sides of an original case based on a constitutional issue. Each team will compete in two trials against opposing teams.
Twenty-seven counties will host district competitions. More than 1,000 legal professionals will serve as volunteer judges, competition coordinators, and team advisors. Mock Trial is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition and among the largest mock trial programs in the nation.
Teams that advance from the districts will compete in the regionals on Feb. 10. Regional winners will compete in the state competition on March 9-11 in Columbus. The 2017 State Champion will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 11-13.