Mock Trial: High school students learn the dynamics of the courtroom

Teams from Goshen, Monroe-Woodbury and Warwick among the eight school to advance to the tournament's second round


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  • The Mock Trial team from Goishen High School eliminated the team from Middletown High School during the opening round of the Orange-Ulster BOCES Mock Trial Tournament.




  • The Mock Trial team from Warwick Valley High School eliminated the team from Chester Academy during the opening round of the tournament held Saturday, April 7, at the Orange-Ulster BOCES campus in Goshen.




  • The Mock Trial team of students from Monroe-Woodbury High School eliminated the team from Marlboro High School.




— The Orange-Ulster BOCES Division of Instructional Support Services' Mock Trial Program began its 2018 multi-round competition on Saturday, April 7, with teams from Chester, Goshen, Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery, Marlboro, Middletown, Minisink Valley, Monroe-Woodbury, Newburgh, Pine Bush, Port Jervis, Valley Central, and Warwick.

High school teams faced off in "courtrooms" on the OU BOCES campus and argued their cases before Orange County judges.

New York State Mock Trial Tournament is an educational program designed to teach secondary students basic trial skills. Students learn how to conduct direct and cross examinations, how to present opening and closing statements, how to think on their feet, and learn the dynamics of a courtroom. On the state level, the program is sponsored by the New York State Bar Association. Locally, the program is sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association and coordinated by OU BOCES. Local judges, attorneys and legal professionals, and educators volunteer their time to preside over the mock courtrooms and assist with the program.

'People v. Carson'For the 2018 tournament, the students argued “People v. Carson,” a fictitious criminal case in which a high school student was observed repeatedly pushing another student in the hallway and is ultimately charged with disorderly conduct.

The defense believes that the school has adopted a “school-to-prison pipeline” policy and practice, which results in “zero-tolerance” for even minor school infractions and in the prosecution of students in the juvenile and the adult criminal justice systems, rather than within the school disciplinary process.

At the end of trial rounds one and two on Saturday, eight teams scored enough points to move on to the single-elimination tournament. The advancing teams are from Goshen, Minisink, Pine Bush, Middletown, Newburgh, Warwick, Monroe-Woodbury, and Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery.

Round two: April 14The four single-elimination trials between the advancing teams will be held in the Carl P. Onken Conference Center and the Emanuel Axelrod Education Center at OU BOCES on Saturday, April 14, beginning at 9 a.m. The four prevailing teams will then progress to the semi-final trial, to be held that afternoon.

The two semi-final winning teams will face each other in the OU BOCES Mock Trial Tournament final trial on Tuesday, April 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Town of Goshen Courthouse.

A brief awards ceremony will follow the final trial. The winner of the OU BOCES Mock Trial Tournament moves on to the Regional Tournament in Poughkeepsie on April 28, and from there, they have the opportunity to progress to the New York State Mock Trial Tournament to be held in Albany on May 15.



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