Ohio High School Mock Trial


   photos courtesy of Dave Liggett

Ohio Mock Trial High School Competition


About High School Mock Trial

Watch your students grow both academically and personally, right before your eyes! Students learn first-hand about the law, court procedures and the judicial system while also building critical 21st Century skills. 

Ohio Mock Trial of­fers an in­no­v­a­tive ap­proach to learn­ing the law and how our legal sys­tem func­tions. Guided by teach­ers and vol­un­teer legal ad­vi­sors, stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in an orig­i­nal, un­scripted sim­u­lated trial writ­ten by at­tor­neys.  High school stu­dents argue both sides of the case in real court­rooms across the state.  The state fi­nals are held in the Ohio State­house and the win­ner ad­vances to the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Each year vol­un­teer at­tor­neys cre­ate an orig­i­nal case around a cur­rent con­sti­tu­tional issue im­por­tant to stu­dents.  Mock Trial teams work with an at­tor­ney or a judge to pre­pare their case – from both the plain­tiff and de­fense per­spec­tive. Com­pe­ti­tions at the dis­trict, re­gional and state lev­els are con­ducted in an ac­tual court­room and are scored by pan­els of lawyers and judges.


Mock Trial Objectives

  • Improve critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking and listening skills
  • De­velop un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the law, court pro­ce­dures, and the ju­di­cial sys­tem
  • Un­der­stand con­sti­tu­tional rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties
  • Rec­og­nize and re­ward stu­dents’ aca­d­e­mic and in­tel­lec­tual achieve­ments

 

For questions, contact Danielle Wilmot at dwilmot@oclre.org or 614-485-3507.

Ohio Mock Trial Case 

 

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education is excited to celebrate its 40thAnniversary with the release of a new Ohio Mock Trial case. The 2023 case, In re S. Khan, examines the complexities of school investigations into incidents of misconduct, specifically when the misconduct may have criminal implications. These situations become even more complicated with the involvement of a school resource officer (SRO). Students will examine the facts to determine whether a high school student was in police custody at the time they made incriminating statements, if so, at what point the custodial interrogation began, and whether the student should have been advised of their rights.

 

Order your copy HERE!


Errata Updates

The errata sheet serves to clarify or correct errors in the Mock Trial case and/or rules, and does not address team strategy, coaching, or judging protocol. If a question received does not meet the criteria for errata (e.g. pertains to an evidence question), an email response will be sent to the individual advisor. 

Errata Update - 11/15/22

 

 Errata Update - 11/1/22

 

 First Errata Update - 10/18/22

 


Case Topic Presentation

Professor Kimberly P. Jordan presented a session at the Mock Trial Conference about custodial interrogations of juveniles. Professor Jordan is the Director of the Justice for Children Project and a Clinical Professor of Law at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. You can read her full bio on the professional development tab.

Due to a technical failure, a portion of the case topic session recording has been lost. Professor Jordan has provided a copy of her slides which can be used to supplement the video. You can access those slides using the link below. 

View/Download Custodial Interrogation Slides HERE .


Previous Cases 

Looking for a prior year's case file? To view a complete list of case summaries from 1983-2022, click  HERE. To order a prior year's case, please complete the order form HERE.

 

2021-22 State of Buckeye ex rel. Hollis Fitzpatrick v. Fran DeBier, et al.: Hollis Fitzpatrick was the owner of a family restaurant, Fitzpatrick’s, in downtown Harmony. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the state of Buckeye in 2020, Fitzpatrick’s struggled financially and ultimately shut down. Hollis blames the government restrictions for the closure of their restaurant and is taking legal action to be compensated for their loss. This case asks students to consider whether the pandemic restrictions were so severe that they constituted a taking of Hollis Fitzpatrick’s property that requires just compensation. 2021-22 Case Capsule Video

2020-21 State of Buckeye v. Micah Opessa: In 2019, Micah Opessa pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of their former best-friend, Haumea Robins. A year into their sentence, Micah found out the eyewitness who saw Micah fleeing the crime recanted their testimony. Now, Micah has filed a motion to withdraw their guilty plea, claiming the prosecutor violated their constitutional rights when they knowingly withheld this information when they offered Micah a plea deal. The Supreme Court ruling in Brady v. Maryland requires the prosecution to overturn exculpatory evidence during trial. In this Mock Trial case, students will argue whether this precedent also applies to plea negotiations.  2020-21 Case Capsule Video

2019-20  Rory Maldonado v. Blake Varga et al: During their senior year at Trillium High School, Rory Maldonado was suspended by Principal Blake Varga for organizing and hosting a gun rights demonstration. The demonstration occurred off campus at a nearby public park but Principal Varga claimed that Rory’s demonstration caused disruption at the school. Rory believed Principal Varga simply disagreed with Rory’s position on gun rights, which led to the suspension. Now, Rory is suing Principal BlakeVarga and the school for a deprivation of their First Amendment Rights.  2019-20 Case Capsule Video

2018-19  State of Buckeye v. Quinn Woolf: Quinn Woolf: High school student, Quinn Woolf, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and telecommunications fraud for stealing $120 million from the State of Buckeye’s pension fund.  The state is basing its charges on drone footage of the Woolf’s backyard captured from 400 feet in the air that was later enhanced. Defense has moved to exclude the drone footage, claiming that police violated Quinn’s Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.  2018-19 Case Capsule Video

 

For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre.org 614-485-3507.

 

Mock Trial Competition


Competition Forms

 

2023 Competition Schedule

  • Districts – Friday, January 27
  • Regionals – Friday, February 17
  • States – March 9, 10, 11

 

Team Registration Pricing  

 

Member Rate: 

$170 per team 

Non-Member Rate: 

$265 per team 

 


Click HERE to view a summary of the rule changes.


Program Updates

  • The 2023 competition will take place in person at local competition sites. If a make-up competition is needed for Districts or Regionals, OCLRE will host the make-up virtually via Zoom.
  • Many county sites have reduced capacity since our last in person competition. Do not make any assumptions about your team’s competition site. We will place teams based on proximity to your home county and the capacity limits of our site partners.
  • Schools will be limited to a maximum of two (2) teams for the 2023 competition. (Competition Rule III.d on page 14)
    • We do not make this decision lightly, but it is necessary to offer the best possible experience for everyone involved. After speaking with the OCLRE Board of Trustees, volunteers, and county coordinators, we have determined this limit is the best way to ensure a positive experience.
    • This is a firm limit and will not change based on the number of schools/teams registered for the competition season.
    • We will not accept requests for additional teams, but I welcome you to email me with any questions after you have thoroughly reviewed the updated competition rules.
  • Team registration will open October 11 with a registration deadline of November 18.
  • The withdrawal deadline and late registration deadline is December 16. Late registrations will incur a $40 late fee.
  • We have restructured our refund policy:
    • If you drop a team by the registration deadline of November 18, you will receive a full refund.
    • If you drop a team after the registration deadline, but before the withdrawal deadline, you will receive a refund on your registration minus a $40 administration fee.
    • If you drop a team after the withdrawal deadline, you will not receive a refund.

For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre.org 614-485-3507.

 

 

Professional Development

2022 Mock Trial Conference

OCLRE hosted the 3rd annual Mock Trial Conference on Tuesday, September 27. To view the list of sessions offered, click HERE. If you registered for the conference, you will receive access to the video recordings on Tuesday, October 4. Below is a list of presenters.


Conference Presenters

Amanda Strausbaugh - Facts and the Law

 

Ben Sandlin - Witness Impeachment

Ben Sandlin Photo

This is Ben Sandlin’s thirteenth year involved in mock trial. He started competing in the OCLRE with Reading High School in 2009 until he graduated in 2012. Ben attended Miami University where he competed on the college’s mock trial team until graduation in 2016. He attended the University of Cincinnati College of Law where he continued his trial team participation until graduation in 2019. Since 2016, he has coached Miami University’s teams, and he assisted in coaching the team to a National Championship in 2018. Ben is a member of Thompson Hine’s business litigation group; he focuses on cases involving trade secret misappropriation, sophisticated theft of company property, and other matters usually involving immediate, emergency injunctive relief. Ben is also a member of Thompson Hine’s white-collar criminal defense group; he has defended clients facing environmental enforcement actions, violations of federal tax law, and fraud-based offenses. Finally, Ben is a member of the OCLRE’s case committee for this year’s case and hopes the students enjoy the #eggscellent fact pattern the committee crafted.  

 

The Honorable Kim A. Browne - Panelist: Teaching Students to Advocate

Judge Browne Photo

Since January 15, 2002, Judge Kim A. Browne has stood firmly with the families of Franklin County! 

ELECTED as Judge of the Franklin County Domestic Relations & Juvenile Court in 2002, 2004, 2010 and 2016! 

SERVED as Lead Juvenile Judge, Administrative Judge, Attorney at Maguire & Schneider, LLP, Director of Legal Operations for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), Director of Employee and Labor Relations (BWC), State Workplace Mediator (BWC), Labor Relations Officer at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services/Office of Collective Bargaining and Arbitration Clerk at OCSEA, AFSCME Local 11. 

EDUCATED at The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, and the University of Cincinnati with a BA degree in Economics. 

DEDICATED to creating innovative means to educate and inspire youth to meet and exceed their own ambitions, such as the Mini-Moot Court Competition for middle and high school-age children, the All Rize College Tour for at-risk youth. Judge Browne also oversees the Court’s Judicial Extern program in collaboration with OSU Moritz and Capital University Colleges of Law. 

INVOLVED as Chair of the Franklin County Juvenile Justice Community Planning Initiative (JJCPI), Teen and Police Service Academy, OCLRE Mock Trial Legal Advisor, Adjunct Professor for Ohio Dominican University, Ohio Supreme Court Case Management Advisory Committee, State JDAI State Leadership Committee, Ohio Women’s Bar Association, Columbus Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges, Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges, National Council of Juvenile/Family Court Judges, Ohio Center for Legal-Related Education Advisory Committee, Franklin University Public Safety Board, Women-to-Women, Columbus NAACP Chapter & Whitehall Community Youth Roundtable. 

 

Phil Sarnowski - Panelist: Teaching Students to Advocate

Phil Sarnowski Photo

Phil Sarnowski is a litigation associate in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA. Phil defends matters involving catastrophic injury, wrongful death, premises liability, product liability, insurance coverage, transportation issues, and toxic torts, among other claims. Phil works in a fast-paced litigation environment dealing with wide-ranging issues from emergency responses, international business disputes, and lawsuits against transit companies and motor carriers. Phil first became involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial program in 2017 as a judge, and then joined the Mock Trial Case Committee in 2018.  

 

Monica Tuttle - Panelist: Teaching Students to Advocate

 

Zach HeckPanelist: Teaching Students to Advocate

Zach Heck Photo

Zach Heck is a privacy and data security attorney at Taft Law.  Specifically, Zach assists clients in the areas of data governance, privacy compliance, and guidance in the aftermath of an information security incident, including data breaches.  The Dayton Business Journal named Zach a member of the 2018 Forty under 40 class of emerging leaders, and that same year he was inducted into the Centerville Education Foundation's Hall of Fame for his role as coach of the Centerville High School Mock Trial Team.  Zach is currently in his sixteenth year coaching CHS.  He earned his J.D. magna cum laude from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he served as managing editor of the Indiana Law Journal, and as Executive Problem Co-Author of the Sherman Minton Moot Court Board. 

 

Amanda Weatherwax - Mock Trial Scope & Sequence

Amanda Weatherwax Photo

Amanda Weatherwax teaches English and coaches Mock Trial at Talawanda High School in Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University).  She enjoys watching students grow as thinkers and speakers through the Ohio High School Mock program, and she loves it when THS Mock Trial alum come back to coach the next generation of Mockers with her.  

 

Ryan Suskey - Objections to Witness Testimony

 

Kimberly P. Jordan - High School Mock Trial Case Topic

Kim Jordan Photo

Kimberly P. Jordan is the Director of the Justice for Children Project and a Clinical Professor of Law at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. She teaches in the Justice for Children Clinic representing youth in delinquency, child welfare, and immigration matters. She also teaches introductory courses on Interviewing and Counseling and Criminal Law in Action. In 2018, Professor Jordan received the Noel E. Kaech Juvenile Defender Award from the Ohio Public Defender. In 2019, she received the Ohio Attorney of the Year Award from Ohio CASA. Prior to joining Moritz, Professor Jordan was a Senior Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC, where she specialized in family law and the representation of children. Early in her career, she served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and was a licensed substance abuse counselor. Professor Jordan is a graduate of the Loyola University Chicago of Law, where she was a Child Law Fellow, and Xavier University. 


If you are interested in learning more about Ohio High School Mock Trial, please contact the program coordinator, Danielle Wilmot (dwilmot@oclre.org). 

 

Annual Lori Urogdy Eiler AwardAward Winner Envelope Graphic

The Eiler Award for Mock Trial Coaching Excellence is named in honor of Lori Eiler, retired teacher and former mock trial advisor at Shaw High School in East Cleveland. Every year, mock trial students nominate advisors who, like Lori, connect with and challenge them to achieve individual personal best.

Presented annually, the Lori Urogdy Eiler Award recognizes an Ohio Mock Trial teacher, legal advisor, volunteer or administrator whose dedication and selflessness in giving their time, as well as their knowledge and skills, makes a difference in the lives of students. Eligible candidates are those who regularly inspire and motivate teams to outstanding performance, while also modeling civility and holding their students accountable for the same. Candidates demonstrate an ability to connect with team members as individuals, helping them to overcome obstacles to success and leading them to achieve an individual "personal best." Nominations are reviewed and voted on by the OCLRE Board of Trustees and the award will be presented at the Fall Mock Trial Conference, typically held in September.

The 2022 nomination window has closed. Please check back in 2023.


2022 Eiler Award

2022 Eiler Award Winner

2022 Eiler Award winner, Vicki Lyle, and her family.

 

The following teachers and legal advisors were nominated for the 2022 Eiler Award by students and co-advisors: 

  • John Fatica - Mayfield High School
  • Zachary Heck - Centerville High School
  • Andy Janig – Reading High School
  • Jason Johnson – Warren High School 
  • Vicki Lyle – Sylvania Southview High School 
  • Ray Smith – Warren High School
  • Zach Wilkerson – Westerville North High School

On behalf of OCLRE, congratulations to all nominees! We extend our sincere appreciation to all teachers and advisors who dedicate their time to support students’ academic and personal growth.

The OCLRE Board of Trustees has reviewed all nominations and the recipient of the 2022 Eiler Award has been selected and notified. The presentation of the award will take place on September 27 at the Mock Trial Conference at the Supreme Court of Ohio. While not required, we welcome you to register and attend the conference during which we will also briefly recognize all nominees.


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