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Westerville North Wins Mock Trial State Championship

COLUMBUS (Mar. 16, 2015) - The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) concluded its 32nd annual High School Mock Trial Competition on Saturday, Mar. 14, when Westerville North High School (Franklin County) defeated Ashland High School (Ashland County) to win the state championship. The competition began on Thursday, Mar. 12 at the Franklin County Courthouse with 32 teams from across the state. Westerville North and Ashland each won four consecutive trials to advance to the championship, which took place at the Ohio Statehouse and was broadcast live by the Ohio Channel. The Westerville North team will compete for the National High School Mock Trial Championship, May 14-16, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ohio Mock Trial is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition. More than 3,500 students participate each year, and approximately 1,000 legal professionals volunteer to serve as judges and team advisors. Each year, OCLRE writes an original case based on a relevant constitutional issue. Students must prepare arguments for both plaintiff and defense. Ohio Mock Trial is designed to educate students about the U.S. Constitution and judicial system and to help them develop critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking and listening skills. This year’s case focused on the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The panel of judges for the final trial included Chief Judge Edmund Sargus of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Ohio State Bar Foundation president Lee Belardo; Drew Dennis, ACLU of Ohio staff attorney and litigation coordinator; Steve Jemison, president and CEO of the Law & Leadership Institute; Judge Allen Goldsberry of the Athens County Common Pleas Court; Judge Jerry McBride a member of the Mock Trial Competition Committee and a judge of the Clermont County Common Pleas Court; Jeff Ginsburg, Mock Trial Competition Committee member and personnel director of the Holmes County Department of Jobs & Family Services; and Jonathan Hsu, Mock Trial Case Committee co-chair  and attorney for the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission.

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation.  The Ohio Mock Trial program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information please call (877) 485-3510 or visit www.oclre.org.

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