Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Officer shoots suspect: Teens grapple with true-to-life case during YMCA Mock Trial state championship this weekend in OlympiaMarch 22, 2011
Officer shoots suspect: Teens grapple with true-to-life case during
YMCA Mock Trial state championship this weekend in Olympia
An officer shoots and kills a “person of interest” after chasing the person into a dark area and finding a police dog dead. Is it murder, manslaughter or self defense? Hundreds of Washington state high school students will battle in Olympia on March 25-27 over a complex criminal case that echoes recent high-profile cases in Seattle and other Washington cities.
The YMCA Mock Trial State Championship competition will pit 22 high school teams from around the state against each other in the fictional trial. The students engage in four rounds of competition, serving alternately as prosecution and defense in the mock trials, before the top two teams compete for the championship on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The final competition will be televised by TVW.
Judges and attorneys from across the state volunteer throughout the weekend to preside over the trials and rate the teams. Washington Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens will preside over the championship round on Sunday in the Thurston County Superior Court.
The competition begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW in Olympia. Teams will be competing in courtrooms throughout the courthouse buildings. On Saturday, competition continues with rounds beginning at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The state champion team will compete in the 2011 National Mock Trial Championship in Phoenix in May.
Teams competing in the state championship competition include:
“While the case deals primarily with issues of police procedures and self-defense, this is not an inappropriate sub-theme for our Mock Trial case,” writes King County Superior Court Judge William Downing, who authored the fictional case. “Besides being consistent with the YMCA’s core values, isn’t it also central to our court values to be profoundly interested in the unique life — and often the unique set of worries — that brings each individual into our forum?”
Mock Trial is part of the YMCA Youth & Government Program, which works to help young people experience democracy in action through both Mock Trial and the YMCA Youth Legislature program. The Youth & Government program celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2007, and the Mock Trial program celebrated its 20th anniversary the same year.
Also sponsoring the event are the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Washington State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division, TVW, the Washington Judges Foundation and the District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association.
Mock Trial allows students to participate in a true-to-life courtroom drama. High school teams of attorneys and witnesses prepare the case for trial and compete at district levels before real judges in actual courtrooms. “Juries" of attorneys rate the teams for their presentation, while the presiding judges rule on the motions, objections, and ultimately the merits. Participants develop critical thinking and analytical skills, learn the art of oral advocacy, and gain a respect for the role of law and the judiciary.
CONTACT: Sarah Clinton, YMCA Youth & Government Director, 360-357-3475 (office) or 360-480-4838 (cell); Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis, Mock Trial State Program Chairman, (360) 397-2226.
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