Cocalico students explore the justice system

By on February 15, 2012

A team from Cocalico High School is participating in district and regional levels of the 2012 Statewide Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

Pennsylvania’s mock trial program, now in its 29th year, is one of the largest in the nation.

Many teachers and lawyers are participating in the program.

During the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of the case in an actual courtroom before a judge. The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher coaches and lawyer advisors in preparing for competition. Lawyers and community leaders serve as jurors for the mock trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams’ abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

The district and regional levels of the competition will continue throughout February and March. At the conclusion of the local competitions, 12 high school mock trial teams will advance to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, March 30 and 31, in Harrisburg. The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals to be held May 3 through 6 in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, will provide funding support for the statewide competition.

This year’s hypothetical case is a civil action in which a plaintiff seeks to prevent the expansion of a pharmaceutical plant in a location where an endangered species is alleged to have been found.

For more information about the 2012 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships and to read this year’s case, go to pabar.org. Interested volunteers should contact Maria Engles of the Pennsylvania Bar Association at (800) 932-0311, extension 2223.

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