WCCC News Article

Mock Trial Gives Insight Into Legal Careers

Witness being questioned at mock trial

Students in Legal Office Technology and Criminal Justice programs at the Warren County Career Center collaborate each year on a project that ends with a mock trial. Students plan a fictional crime, and go through the process of investigation, arrest, arraignment and trial. Criminal Justice students investigate the crime scene and take evidence, interview witnesses, and write reports. Legal Office students are divided into prosecution and defense teams and prepare their cases. Warren County Common Pleas Court Judge Don Oda has generously given his time for the past three years, and allows the students to use his courtroom for the mock trial. He presides over the trial, and then discusses it afterward with the students. This year’s Mock Trial was held March 2. See more photos HERE.

Students from other WCCC programs participate in the exercise as jurors, defendant and witnesses. Graphic Arts students James Atkins, Lebanon, and Paige Sprowl, Franklin, serve as sketch artists. The nervous excitement is palpable as “court day” arrives and over 40 students ride the bus to the Warren County Courthouse and go through the security checkpoint. They take their place in the courtroom and prepare for the judge to enter and call the “trial” to order. “Bailiff” Joel Lyon of Lebanon, announces “All rise,” and introduces Judge Oda. Prosecution and defense lead “attorneys” Morgan Perreira, Springboro, and Sarah Babson, Lebanon, give opening statements and begin the process of examining and cross-examining “witnesses” Ryan Martin, Franklin, Aviation; Seth Finn, Franklin, Carpentry; Jerred Manns, Franklin, Criminal Justice, and Anthony Allen, Franklin, Criminal Justice. Finally, “defendant” Austin Selby, Franklin, Electricity, is questioned. The jury pays close attention, and exit to the back room for deliberations. When a verdict is reached, they file in and jury foreman Alex Cruea, Franklin, gives the verdict of “not guilty.”

A debriefing follows, and students have the opportunity to ask questions of Judge Oda and hear feedback from him on what went well, and what could have been improved. The entire process takes about two months from inception to completion, and the students gain an experience that can only result from this realistic exercise. Legal Office junior Hailee Morrow, Lebanon, served as third chair Prosecution. She said later that afternoon, “Today will go down in history as the day I finally figured out what I want to do the rest of my life.”

Students participating in the Mock Trial:
Prosecution:  (All Juniors)
Morgan Perreira, lst Chair/Lead (Springboro)
Macy Czekalski, 2nd Chair (Springboro)
Hailee Morrow, 3rd Chair (Lebanon)

Defense:  (All Juniors)
Sarah Babson, 1st Chair/Lead (Lebanon)
Ashley LaFarge, 2nd Chair (Little Miami)
Ethan McHenry, 3rd Chair (Blanchester)

Bailiff: Joel Lyon, Lebanon (Junior)
Court Reporter: Christina Wysong, Lebanon (Junior)

Court Records:  (All Juniors)
Brianna Ferguson, Franklin
Alyssa Whiteside, Franklin
Hailee Dotson, Springboro

The following Seniors were jurors:
Alex Cruea, Foreman  (Franklin)
Camille Kay (Franklin)
Natalie Lumley (Little Miami)
Brandon Malicote (Lebanon)
Lexi Robertson (Kings)
Veronica Sponyoe (Lebanon)
Daisy Williams (Franklin)

Additional Jurors:
Caleb Faulkner, Robotics, Blanchester
Brittany Seacrist, Robotics, Lebanon
Brittany Briggs, Culinary (Lebanon)
Joshua Harbison, Culinary (Franklin)
Alexis Robb, Culinary (Little Miami)

Sketch Artists:
James Atkins, Graphic Arts (Lebanon)
PaigeSprowl, Graphic Arts (Franklin)

Defendant:  Austin Selby, Electricity (Franklin)

Witnesses:
Ryan Martin, Aviation (Franklin)
Seth Finn, Carpentry (Franklin)
Jerred Manns, Criminal Justice, Franklin
Anthony Allen, Criminal Justice, Franklin

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