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Ohio Mock Trial Competition: High School Students Head to Court


COLUMBUS  (Jan. 29, 2015) - More than 3,000 high school students will enter courtrooms across the state on Friday, January 30, to take part in the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s (OCLRE) 32nd Annual Ohio Mock Trial Competition.

The 2015 Ohio Mock Trial case focuses on student rights under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In this year’s case, fictitious plaintiff Emerson Jones, a juvenile, has filed suit against Buckeye Juvenile Correction Institute (BJCI). Emerson contends that BJCI used excessive force to contain a fight in the cafeteria, and that medical staff failed to provide proper care and treatment for Emerson’s resulting injury.

Ohio Mock Trial District Competitions will be hosted in 25 counties throughout Ohio and more than 1,000 legal professionals will serve as volunteer judges, competition coordinators and team advisors.  Ohio Mock Trial is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition and among the largest high school mock trial programs in the nation.      

Each Ohio Mock Trial team consists of five to eleven students who prepare both plaintiff and defense cases.  Students assume the roles of witnesses and attorneys to present both sides of an original case based on a constitutional issue.    Each team will compete in two trials against opposing teams.

“In addition to teaching students how the U.S. Constitution is relevant to their lives,” said OCLRE Executive Director Lisa Eschleman, “mock trial provides a wonderful opportunity for students to learn and practice analytic and research skills. Presenting a trial before a panel of judges and attorneys is an authentic and unique experience they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

Teams that advance from the District Competition will compete in the Regional Competition on February 20.  Regional winners will compete in the State Competition on March 12-14 in Columbus. The 2015 State Champion will represent Ohio in the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 14-16.

OCLRE is a private 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, Ohio State Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation. The Ohio Mock Trial program is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation.

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