The Southern Standard, by James Clark —
The verdict is in. Warren County High School’s mock trial team is No. 1 in its district and 15th best in the state.
The ruling comes after WCHS competed in the 27th annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition at the end of March after winning its district competition in February.
In addition to placing 15th at state competition in Nashville, WCHS student Kris Kirby was named the team’s most valuable player.
St. Mary’s Episcopal School of Memphis defeated Family Christian Academy of Chattanooga in the championship round and will represent Tennessee at the national competition in Dallas, Texas in May.
“When you get to the state level, most of your competition is private schools so that makes it tough,” said WCHS mock trial advisor Darrell Austin. “A lot of these kids are going to be lawyers anyway. I heard a number of the judges and lawyers who helped out with the competition say these kids are way ahead of where they were with their law knowledge at this point.”
Mock trial team members participate in a fictitious case and play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. Real-life judges, lawyers and law students volunteer their time to preside over the cases, while Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade presided over the championship match.
Local team members have been practicing for months at Warren County Courthouse with the help of attorneys Tom Miner and John Partin. The case they worked on was described by Austin as one of the more interesting cases he has seen.
The fictitious case involved an assistant district attorney who was prosecuting a Mafia-type family in a case he expected to win. However, he ended up losing to a high-profile defense attorney, who was also his neighbor.
After the verdict, the prosecutor went to a bar to drown his sorrows. The defense attorney went home to have a few drinks in celebration.
The twist takes place when the prosecutor’s daughter wanders over to play with the defense attorney’s daughter. After a couple hours, she returns home and claims the drunken defense attorney touched her inappropriately.
This infuriates her father, who has also had a bit too much to drink. Coupled with the fact he has just lost an important case, he grabs a knife, goes over to his neighbor’s home, and stabs the defense attorney to death. He then tries to plead temporary insanity.
It was up to mock trial team members to battle it out in the courtroom. Individual awards were given for best prosecution attorney, best defense attorney, best prosecution witness, and best defense witness.
The only other area school placing in the competition was Tullahoma, which earned 11th place.