16th Circuit Mock Trial Provides Warm-Up for State Tourney

16th Circuit Mock Trial Provides Warm-Up for State Tourney

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The 16th Circuit Court of Kane County and the high schools of St. Charles East and St. Charles North played host at the Kane County Mock Trial Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 28, getting ready for state competition that will take place in two weeks.

Teams from 42 high schools from throughout Illinois will participate in the 33rd annual Illinois State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitational on March 14 and March 15, 2015, at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign.

The top eight teams will compete in the final round on March 15, for the state championship. The winner will represent Illinois at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Raleigh, NC.

“The Invitational is civics education on steroids,” says Hon. Michael J. Chmiel, of Woodstock, chair of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public, which conducts the program. “It provides students and their families with a unique opportunity to learn about our legal system from the trenches — thanks go to the ISBA, the University of Illinois, and many volunteer lawyers and judges for providing this opportunity.”

Each 10-member team tries both sides — plaintiff and defense — of a hypothetical case developed by the ISBA Committee. This year’s case is People of the State of Illinois vs. Casey Jones, a criminal case in which the defendant is charged with home invasion and aggravated battery in connection with a break-in at the home of the defendant’s former paramour.

Students will assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses, and a panel of Illinois lawyers and judges, along with members of the ISBA Law Related Education Committee, will rate the students’ performance. The students must also take a written test about the issues of the case and basic legal principles.

The High School Mock Trial Invitational has been conducted each year since 1982 by the ISBA to provide Illinois high school students an interesting and challenging way to gain insight into the American judicial system. Co-sponsors of the 2015 event are Illinois LEARN, Inc.; the Illinois Trial Team of the University of Illinois; and the University of Illinois College of Law.

The 33,000-member ISBA (isba.org), with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public through a website (illinoislawyerfinder.com), consumer brochures, and distribution of legal information.

SOURCE: Illinois State Bar Association

Photo for Kane County Connects courtesy of Mark VanKerkhoff