Witnesses were questioned and facts were uncovered Dec. 8 in this year’s Lorain County mock trial, with Comets from Amherst Junior High School making their presence felt.
Filling courtrooms at Elyria’s Lorain County Justice Center, students worked as lawyers, witnesses, bailiffs, foremen, and jurors. The program is set up by the gifted consortium of the Education Service Center of Lorain County.
This year, 451 fifth through eighth grade students from seven area districts took part.
In separate rooms, Comets worked both sides of State v. Lane, a hypothetical case involving a defendant accused of arson and inciting a riot.
“You have to try and connect with the jury to get them to see what you’re seeing and thinking,” said AJHS sixth-grader Zachary Grumble, who was part of the defense team. “You’re trying to set a certain mood.”
Fellow sixth-grader Ijanai King portrayed a witness who is friends with the defendant.
“You don’t want them to go to jail,” she said. “It can add more to the emotion you show the jury and the lawyers. It’s a challenge to see if you can make a good enough argument to beat the other side, and I like challenges.”
Area lawyers acted as judges in each student trial, including Kevin Corcoro, of North Ridgeville.
“I’ve worked with different age groups in this program and giving a kid their first experience with this kind of work is very special to me,” said Kevin Corcoran, a North Ridgeville lawyer who oversaw the Jackson case. “It gives great perspective on what it’s really like to sit in those seats when it counts.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.