Ohio High School Mock Trial

   photos courtesy of Dave Liggett

Hsmt TrophyOhio Mock Trial High School Competition

 

Watch your students grow both academically and personally, right before your eyes! Students learn first-hand about the law, court procedures and the judicial system while also building critical 21st Century skills. 

Ohio Mock Trial of­fers an in­no­v­a­tive ap­proach to learn­ing the law and how our legal sys­tem func­tions. Guided by teach­ers and vol­un­teer legal ad­vi­sors, stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in an orig­i­nal, un­scripted sim­u­lated trial writ­ten by at­tor­neys.  High school stu­dents argue both sides of the case in real court­rooms across the state.  The state fi­nals are held in the Ohio State­house and the win­ner ad­vances to the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Each year vol­un­teer at­tor­neys cre­ate an orig­i­nal case around a cur­rent con­sti­tu­tional issue im­por­tant to stu­dents.  Mock Trial teams work with an at­tor­ney or a judge to pre­pare their case – from both the plain­tiff and de­fense per­spec­tive. Com­pe­ti­tions at the dis­trict, re­gional and state lev­els are con­ducted in an ac­tual court­room and are scored by pan­els of lawyers and judges.

 

2019-2020 Mock Trial Competition Dates

  • Registration Deadline:   December 2, 2019  REGISTER HERE
  • Late Registration Deadline:   December 18, 2019
  • Roster Deadline:    December 18, 2019
  • Withdrawal Deadline:   December 20, 2019 (No refunds will be issued after this date)                 
  • District Competition:   January 17, 2020
  • Regional Competition:   February 7, 2020
  • State Competition:    March 12-14, 2020
 

Mock Trial Objectives

  • Improve critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking and listening skills
  • De­velop un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the law, court pro­ce­dures, and the ju­di­cial sys­tem
  • Un­der­stand con­sti­tu­tional rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties
  • Rec­og­nize and re­ward stu­dents’ aca­d­e­mic and in­tel­lec­tual achieve­ments

 

For questions, contact Danielle Wilmot at dwilmot@oclre.org or 614-485-3507.

 

The 2020 Ohio Mock Trial Case, Rory Maldonado v. Varga, et al., asks students to examine the First Amendment right to free speech. This case focuses on if/when it is permissible for a school to restrict student speech. A former Trillium High School student is suing the school and the principal, Blake Varga, for violating their First Amendment right to free speech.

Rory Maldonado was a senior at Trillium in 2019 when they organized a demonstration centered around the individual right to gun ownership. Rory worked with another student to plan the demonstration which originally included a march from the high school to nearby PawPaw Park. After hearing talk of Rory’s demonstration and its supposed connection to a major food fight that took place, Principal Varga warned the school that any students participating in the demonstration would be suspended.

In an effort to remove the school from the demonstration plans, Rory canceled the march from the school and instead instructed everyone to meet directly at PawPaw Park. Rory went through with the demonstration and was subsequently suspended from all Senior Week activities and banned from walking at graduation. This case is the civil trial in which Rory Maldonado is suing the school and Principal Varga for a deprivation of rights.

 


 Resources

 

While the legal arguments in the 2020 Ohio Mock Trial Case File focus on the First Amendment, the case material includes information and (fictitious) statements related to gun ownership and gun regulation. We recognize this is a sensitive topic for many but presents an opportunity for important conversations. OCLRE has curated a list of resources to assist you in beginning these conversations with your students. 

 


Errata

Clarifications, updates, and corrections to the case will be found in this section as needed.  Please check it periodically to stay up-to-date with the latest changes.

 

10/22/19

10/8/19

 

 


Rule Changes

To view a summary of 2020 rule changes, click HERE


To order your case, click HERE

Orders will be processed on Mondays and Wednesdays. All orders received after 2:00 pm will be processed the following day. 


Case File Pricing

Case files can be ordered in either hard copy or digital versions. Digital case files are sent via e-mail as a PDF. 

Hard copy teacher manuals are loosely bound hole-punched paper and include a copy of the ABA Guide to Mock trials. Additional hard copies for students can be ordered after a first copy has been purchased (or received at the Conference)

Materials

Member

Non-Member

Shipping & Handling

Hard Copy Case File

$180

$275

$15

Digital Copy Case File

$165

$260

N/A

Additional Hard Copy 

$23

$28

$10 for orders up to $50.  $15 for orders over $50

Team Registration

$170 per team

$265 per team

N/A

 

 Not a member yet?  You can easily join while registering for any OCLRE program!


Previous Cases 

Looking for a prior year's case file? To view a complete list of case summaries from 1983-2019, click  HERE .  A form to purchase previous cases is forthcoming.

 

2018-19  State of Buckeye v. Quinn Woolf: Quinn Woolf: High school student, Quinn Woolf, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and telecommunications fraud for stealing $120 million from the State of Buckeye’s pension fund.  The state is basing its charges on drone footage of the Woolf’s backyard captured from 400 feet in the air that was later enhanced. Defense has moved to exclude the drone footage, claiming that police violated Quinn’s Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.  2018-19 Case Capsule Video

 2017-18     State of Buckeye v. Adam Smith: Inspired by the popular podcast Serial, students tackle the post-conviction relief petition of Adam Smith, a defendant convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 1999. Almost 20 years later, Smith has filed a petition for a new trial, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Smith contends that his original attorney mishandled cell phone evidence in his case and failed to pursue a potential alibi witness.  2017-2018 case video

 2016-17    Pat Justice v. CAT News, et al.: During a campaign stop at a local high school, the incumbent Governor met with Principal I.M Veritas. After a heated argument, the Governor stormed out, just as Principal Veritas suffered a fatal brain aneurysm and died. A student reporter heard the argument and reported to CAT News that the Governor killed the principal. Justice lost the election and has now filed a civil suit against CAT News, alleging defamation.  2016-2017 case video

2015-16    State of Harmony v. Riley Green: En route to the annual Medieval Fair, a student causes a disturbance while playing in character with a bow and arrow at a convenience store. The store owner calls the police, and as Officer Green arrives on the scene, he finds AJ in the parking lot holding his bow and arrow. After issuing a warning, Officer Green makes the decision to use deadly force to prevent further harm. Officer Green is charged with felonious assault.

 

For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre.org 614-485-3507.

 

2019-2020 Mock Trial Competition Dates

To register a team CLICK HERE

Registration Deadline is December 2, 2019


Important Dates:

  • Late Registration Deadline:   December 18, 2019
  • Roster Deadline    December 18, 2019
  • Team Drop Deadline:   December 20, 2019 (No refunds will be issued after this date)                 
  • District Competition:   January 17, 2020
  • Regional Competition:   February 7, 2020
  • State Competition:    March 12-14, 2020

 

Materials

Member

Non-Member

Team Registration

$170 per team

$265 per team

 

 Not a member yet?  You can easily join while registering for any OCLRE program!

 

For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio HS Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre.org 614-485-3507.

 

 

Ohio Mock Trial Resources

Mock Trial Evidence Maze

This resource, with special thanks to Clermont County Common Pleas Court Mediator & Senior Magistrate Harold Paddock for developing and sharing, is perfect if you are getting lost trying to navigate the Mock trial evidence "maze".

Putting On Mock Trials ABA Guide

The American Bar Association has created a guide to putting on Mock Trials. It has helpful information about the components of a trial, advise for students and sample trials.  

Make Your Case presented by Scholastic American Justice

Girl Make Your Case is a court­room trial sim­u­la­tion in which stu­dents con­trol the ac­tion as they ex­pe­ri­ence a real court­room set­ting. Make Your Case was de­vel­oped by Scholas­tic in con­junc­tion with the Amer­i­can Board of Trial Ad­vo­cates. The Amer­i­can Jus­tice webpages also con­tain ad­di­tional civic ed­u­ca­tion re­sources, including lesson plans, printables and more.  

Mock Trial Practicum

Pic3This publication en­hances the Mock Trial ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents, teach­ers, coaches and judges by pro­vid­ing an in­ter­ac­tive area that will help stu­dents bet­ter un­der­stand the trial process and learn­ing tools for new and ex­pe­ri­enced ad­vi­sors. Ac­cess to the site is avail­able for $100 per team (up to 8 stu­dents) and $10 for each ad­di­tional stu­dent, re­new­able each year. 

Introducing Case Files

 Click Here to check out these five easy steps which explain how to introduce a case to your students so they get the most out of it. This can be used as a starting point to introduce the Mock Trial case file to your students to help them understand the basic elements.

Mentor Hangouts

OCLRE talked to two of our experienced advisors to find out how they get the Mock Trial year started. This video will give high school advisors and teachers insight on how to approach and prepare for the Mock Trial competition. The advisors share tips, lesson plans, and past experiences.

Mock Trial Student Tips Videos

Iadc Logo

The Foundation of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), has a YouTube channel with short videos offering mock trial tips for students. The videos include helpful suggestions for conducting direct and cross-examination, opening statements and closing arguments.

 

Mock Trial Tutorial

OCLRE created this video to help students and teachers learn the basics of a mock trial presentation. It details what each part of the trial is about and how the students should approach each section. The video uses examples from a state championship round so you can see each part of the trial in action.

 

 

2019 Lori Urogdy Eiler AwardAward Winner Envelope Graphic

Congratulations to Noel Alden who is the legal advisor to Danville High School’s mock trial and moot court teams. Alden was nominated by Danville High School student Calvin Huh. In his nomination of Alden, Calvin stated, “As both a full-time attorney and full-time dairy farmer, Mr. Alden has sacrificed nearly all of his free time coaching us. Mr. Alden has helped us all grow through his blunt honesty. [He] does not sugarcoat things, but he also doesn’t dismiss ideas. He provides direct, constructive criticism…but [lets] us figure out how to fix things. Most importantly, Mr. Alden has tried to instill in us a respect for all people.” 

Alden is with the firm Zelkowitz, Barry & Cullers, Ltd. 

To nominate your legal advisor: 2020 Eiler Award.

Questions

How do I get started?

If you or your school/organization are new to Ohio Mock Trial, welcome! First, you need the case file… The case is released annually at the Law & Citizenship Conference. Conference attendees are the first to receive their copy of the case and are also able to attend many mock trial related sessions, including the case presentation by members of the case writing committee and OCLRE staff. In addition to the case file, conference attendees hear from top-notch speakers in the fields of civics, social studies, law, and government, and leave with 30+ lessons and resources. Additionally, if you register for the Law & Citizenship Conference, you will receive a discount on the cost of the case file. As part of the conference, you can also attend an intro to Mock Trial professional development day for only $10 (regularly $25).  This professional development session is intended for those who are new to mock trial, or who would like a refresher.

 

I am unable to attend the Law & Citizenship Conference but want to get the Mock Trial case. What do I do?!

Take a deep breath and relax. You can still order the case! Complete the form under the "Case File" tab and the case file will be sent to you. Please note that cases will not be sent until after the Law & Citizenship Conference in September. 

 

I’ve got my case materials. Is that all? Am I ready to compete?

NO. Not yet. Team registration is a separate cost and registration form. Most team advisors wait until closer to the registration deadline, usually mid-December, to make sure that student interest hasn’t waned and to be certain of the number of teams they will field. A team consists of 5 – 11 students.

 

My students and I are struggling with start-up. Who can help us? 

OCLRE has teacher mentors for all of its programs, including mock trial. Teacher mentors have expressed willingness to help other teachers who are new to a program, to answer questions from the teacher perspective or offer advice. Click Here to access a list of mentors. You can also contact the Mock Trial Program Coordinator Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre, (614) 485-3507. 

 

How much time should my students and I spend on practice and preparation?

The short and simple answer is: it varies. Some teams are classroom-based and therefore spend class time each week preparing. Other teams are extra-curricular and meet one or more times per week, before or after school or on weekends. Others may only have time to meet a few times per month. There is no right or wrong answer. Figure out what works best for you, your fellow advisors (if any), and your students. The case is released in September and the first competition date is at the end of January, so at most teams have about four months to prepare.

 

I don’t have a legal advisor. Do I need one?

OCLRE does not require that mock trial teams have a legal advisor, however, most teachers appreciate assistance from volunteer attorneys, who help students understand case law, courtroom procedure and etiquette. Often times a mock trial legal advisor is the parent of a student or a local attorney who volunteers in his/her community. The time commitment for volunteer legal advisors varies and is worked out between the teacher/team advisor and attorney. If you are unable to find a legal advisor, contact Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre, and OCLRE may be able to put you in contact with an interested local attorney.

 

When and where do my students compete? 

District Competition (the first round of competition) takes place in January. To the greatest extent possible, teams are assigned to a competition site closest to their school. Competition site placement is based on a number of factors, including teams’ ability to travel and courtroom availability at local competition sites. Teams that win both trials (having played both P and D) at the District level advance to Regional Competition in February. Teams that win both trials at Regional Competition will advance to State Competition, in March in Columbus. The state champion team is eligible to compete in the National Mock Trial Competition.

 

I have a question about or found a discrepancy in, the facts of the case and/or a witness statement. What do I do?

OCLRE will post errata on the Mock Trial page every two weeks beginning in October and going through January. Errata questions must be submitted by the teacher or legal advisor, not students, and should be directed to dwilmot@oclre.org.

 

It’s competition day and there is inclement weather in my part of the state/school is delayed/school is closed, etc. What do I do?

If your team cannot make it to the competition site, please immediately notify the district/regional competition coordinator where you are scheduled to compete (available in January) as soon as possible. You should also notify OCLRE by contacting Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre, (614) 485-3507. Teams are expected to follow school district policy and/or common sense when making the decision whether or not to travel in inclement weather. Most importantly: safety should come first! The scheduling of make-up competitions is at the discretion of OCLRE and the affected site coordinators (please see page 10 of the case manual for make-up competition policy).

 

My school doesn’t have a mock trial team, but I want to get involved. What can I do?

Are you a high school student? Start by talking to a teacher – it could be a social studies teacher, the drama teacher, or even the principal. If you and four or more interested students are willing to take on the challenge, the teacher may be willing, too. There is some expense involved, so make sure to factor that into consideration. If you get buy-in from school personnel, refer the person to the top of this list of FAQs for next steps. If a student can’t convince a teacher in his/her school, please contact OCLRE. On occasion, there are non-school affiliated community teams or other opportunities to get involved.

 

I am having trouble with the online order form and am getting frustrated. What should I do?

Don’t worry – OCLRE is here to help! Call us at (614) 485-3510 or toll-free at (877) 485-3510 and ask for Cathy. She can guide you through problems and make sure you get what you need. Additionally, Cathy can answer questions about usernames and passwords, as well as payment options. OCLRE endeavors to continually improve our online order and registration processes to benefit our constituents and your feedback help us to do so.

 

What are the payment options for online orders and registrations? Do I have to use a credit card?

OCLRE offers several payment options. You may pay with a credit card, request to be invoiced, or enter a purchase order (PO) number. If the PO number is not known at the time an order is placed, you may select the purchase order option and then enter “pending” for the number.

 

How do I know if my order/registration has been completed successfully?

When orders and registrations have been submitted successfully to OCLRE, an automatic email confirmation is generated and should arrive in your inbox within minutes. If you do not receive a confirmation email within an hour, please contact OCLRE. 

 

A few helpful hints for proper form completion:

  • Follow the process all the way through, using the “Next” and “Submit” buttons.
  • Complete all required (*) fields or you will not be able to proceed/finish
  • Complete the payment portion of the form, even if you are not paying by credit card.
  • Other options that you can select include requesting an invoice or entering a PO number (or indicate that a PO is in process and the number is “pending”)

None at this time.

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