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Mock Trials-Periods 0 and 2

MY Ethan Couch (notice the shirt)
Wow!  What a fantastic week it has been for me as a teacher!  My students have been working hard preparing for their assigned cases and getting ready to go to trial.  Each group was assigned a case based on an article we read in class.  One case was about a sixteen-year old  boy named Ethan Couch.  He had a blood alcohol level three times over the legal limit when the car he was driving hit a disabled vehicle and killed four innocent people.  He receive one year of rehabilitation in Malibu and ten years probabtion as his punishment. His attorneys blamed his behavior on what was called "affluenza."  Please ask your child about this word and how it was used to defend him in court!
The other case involved for teens who threw an eight pound rock over an overpass and struck the passenger side of a vehicle.  The passenger was Sharon Budd, a middle-school English teacher and breast cancer survivor.  She has endured countless surgeries since this happened, as well as permanent brain damage and disfigurement. Her daughter was driving the car and witnessed the entire incident.   Students were riveted by this case and wanted justice!

Of course, we also read two articles about the teen brain which students could use as evidence.

I cannot tell you how hard the students worked on their cases.  They read more articles about their cases trying to find out as much as they could about them.  In addition, I taught them about proper courtroom decorum, opening statements, questioning the witnesses, cross examination, and closing statements.  Youtube provided me with some great examples!  

Preparing for Trial

Polling the Jury

Students began presenting this week, and I was blown away! Students had mustaches, ties, jackets, glasses, and of course, I wore my Judge Karney robe!    I still can't believe some of the defenses they came up with for the defendants in the cases.  For example, one group said that the boys threw the rock over the overpass as part of an experiment for their science class; they even had the teacher testify.  Another group had a teacher testify on behalf of one of the defendant but under cross examination it was pointed out that the teacher was a family friend of the defendant!  I could go on and on about the amazing things they did.  

After the cases, students had to serve on the jury.  I appointed a foreman and sent them off to deliberate (a very abbreviated version).  Many of the students were shocked to discover that they all had to agree on the verdict!  They didn't like that at all.  

Here are few excerpts from this week's trials:

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