The Docket April 2020 - Page 3

MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION Students from 12 schools compete in Mock Trial By SARA CASTRO, Esq. Farr, Farr, Emerich, Hackett, Carr and Holmes, P.A. T his year’s 12th Circuit High School Mock Trial Competition was held Saturday, February 8 at the Judge Lynn N. Silvertooth Judi- cial Center. Six Sarasota and Mana- tee county schools participated: Riverview High School, Booker High School, Manatee School for the Arts, The Classical Academy of Sarasota, Pine View School, and Invictus Advocacy Academy. All student teams represented both the prosecution and the defense in three rounds of trials. The case involved a student charged with two counts of felony arson after a suspicious fire at the school’s student union. All teams gave remarkable performances, as noted by the presid- Sara Castro, Esq. Farr, Farr, Emerich, Hackett, Carr and Holmes, P.A ing judges and attorneys serving as scoring judges. Some of the hearsay objections I was able to observe were argued as well as (maybe even better than) many practicing attorneys. It is clear all the students have bright futures ahead of them. This year we received feedback from Dr. Steven Marshall, the teacher coach from the Manatee School for the Arts, letting us know the impact the program has on students. Dr. Marshall stated that several students have gone to law school as a result and a participat- ing student from this year earned a scholarship to the Stanford Univer- sity Law Camp. The first round of competition began at 9:00 a.m., and the day concluded after three rounds of trials with the announcement of the winning team, Invictus Advocacy Academy, a home school team in their second year competing (and winning). Pine View, a first-time competitor, took second place, and The Classical Academy of Sarasota placed third. Invictus Advocacy Academy moved on to compete in the state finals in Orlando. The Sarasota County Bar Asso- ciation Young Lawyers Division organized and oversaw the local competition with guidance and resources from the Justice Teaching Center for Civic Learning, a program hosted by Florida Southern College. Annette Boyd Pitts, the co-creator of the mock trial program and Director of Justice Teaching Center for Civic Learning, oversaw and coordinated the high school mock trial program statewide, acting as an invaluable resource for local organizers and participants. See STUDENTS , Page 11 The Docket · April 2020 3