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Mock trials simulate courtroom drama

The real life drama of the courtroom captivates audiences with its twist and turns. From the O.J. Simpson trial to Scott Peterson’s case, viewers foam at the mouth as the human tragedy unfolds in courtrooms across the nation.

Robert Foshee, campus civics teacher, aimed to entertain and inform students with his annual mock trials, held during the week of Nov. 29 through Dec. 3.

“This is the fourth year I’ve done the mock trials,” Foshee said. “It’s a good way for students to learn about the courtroom process hands-on. It really solidifies their learning after reading about the whole process in their textbooks.”

Students in Foshee’s civics class enjoyed the mock trials for their entertainment and educational value.

“It’s a lot better than just learning from a book,” Katie Jacobsen, ’05, said. “Being able to go through the motions makes it a lot easier to remember all the facts of the process.”

No student is left behind in the mock trial project; numerous jobs are available for the taking. While attorneys organize evidence for their argument, several witnesses prepare their statements.

“I was the prosecuting attorney,” Carson Belmont, ’05, said. “It was really interesting to see the inner workings of a courtroom. I got to yell ?Objection!’ at will and present evidence like a real attorney.”

Foshee attempted to include each member of his class in the courtroom civilization.

“There’s a part for everyone,” Foshee said. “Having a part gives students a real-life look at the inner workings of a trial. Each student has an opportunity to get into character.”

The crime scenario played out in the civics class has been the same for the last two years. A student acts as the president of a college fraternity and is accused of murder and hazing. The jury deliberates on the arguments of the defense and prosecution, then makes their final decision.

“I was a juror,” James Brown, ’06, said. “It was a good role for me because I don’t like talking very much. It was a hard case to decide on, but I ultimately settled on the defendant being not guilty.”

The mock trials is one of the most unique and looked forward to events in the civics classroom. The civics class stages two mock trials annually. For more information on mock trials nationwide, visit the American Mock Trial Association at www.collegemocktrial.com.

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