Waterford students preparing for Mock Trial Tournament
The setup: A famous musician is found dead at his piano, his son found nearby washing himself in the pool. A bandmate who walks in on this macabre scene is charged with murdering the musician. These are the juicy details Michigan high school students are considering as they prepare for the annual Mock Trial Tournament coming up March 10.
Seven Waterford high school students — Andrea Sanchez, Jenna Blankenship, Cory Marshall, Cody McKenzie, Autumn Gairaud, Katie Geiger and Alex Hawkins — have entered for the competition, sponsored by Lansing-based Michigan Center for Civic Education, for the first time.
Their instructor is 51st District Court Judge Jodi Debbrecht, who, while Magistrate and Court Administrator in Berkley, established the same program at Berkley High School.
Since last October, the students have been coming to work with Debbrecht at the court four days a week after school. The students were selected from all three of the district’s high schools — Kettering, Mott and Durant.
“A large majority of the work and preparation, however, is done by the students at home,” said Debbrecht. “In that, they are tremendously dedicated!”
The students learn to prepare opening and closing statements, use rules of evidence, cross-exam witnesses and think on their feet.
“The competition relies upon the willingness of lawyers, judges, police officers, elected officials, school administrators and parents to be successful,” said Debbrecht.
The students will have their first practice competition during the week of Feb. 13. The formal competition is March 10 at the 6th Circuit Court Building in Pontiac
The students’ case is riddled with twists and involves three witnesses for both the prosecution and defense.
“What many litigators took years to learn, these bright students are learning in just a few months,” said Debbrecht.
By CAROL HOPKINS, The Oakland Press]]>