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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-485-3507.
2020-2021 Ohio Mock Trial Case
Inspired in part by the New York Times Best Seller Charged by Emily Bazelon, the 2021 Ohio Mock Trial case takes an inside look at the justice system by examining what prosecutors are required to disclose during plea negotiations. 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.
Looking for a prior year's case file? To view a complete list of case summaries from 1983-2020, click HERE. To order a prior year's case, please complete the order form HERE.
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.
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
2017-18 State of Buckeye v. Adam Smith: Inspired by the popular podcast Serial, students tackle the post-conviction relief petition of Adam Smith, a defendant convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 1999. Almost 20 years later, Smith has filed a petition for a new trial, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Smith contends that his original attorney mishandled cell phone evidence in his case and failed to pursue a potential alibi witness. 2017-2018 case video
2016-17 Pat Justice v. CAT News, et al.: During a campaign stop at a local high school, the incumbent Governor met with Principal I.M Veritas. After a heated argument, the Governor stormed out, just as Principal Veritas suffered a fatal brain aneurysm and died. A student reporter heard the argument and reported to CAT News that the Governor killed the principal. Justice lost the election and has now filed a civil suit against CAT News, alleging defamation. 2016-2017 case video
For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial program, please contact Danielle Wilmot, email@example.com 614-485-3507.
2020-2021 Ohio Mock Trial Competition
2021 State Champion
Congratulations to the 2021 Ohio High School State Champion, Sylvania Southview High School! They will go on to represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship, hosted virtually by the Indiana Bar Foundation in Evansville, IN May 13-15.
Nineteen teams from fifteen schools participated in the 2021 State Competition which took place over three days. Of the nineteen teams that competed, eleven teams won a trial and another four teams won both trials to advance to the semifinals. It was a close competition an all participants should be proud of their hard work!
Thank you to The Ohio Channel for livestreaming and recording the State Championship! You can watch the championship round below. It will also air on Saturday, March 20 at 6 p.m. or Sunday, March 21 at 9 a.m.
2021 Ohio Mock Trial – Student Awards
Congratulations to the teams that participated in the 2021 Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition! Throughout the competition students shined in their roles as attorneys and witnesses, some even won awards for their hard work. The documents below provide a complete list of award winners from each level of competition.
The 2021 Ohio High School Competition has officially concluded. Thank you to the many volunteers who generously donated their time to make this competition a reality! With over 180 volunteers we were able to serve approximately 2,000 students across the state. This competition would not have been possible without you and we are grateful for your support.
For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial program, please contact Danielle Wilmot, firstname.lastname@example.org 614-485-3507.
Ohio Mock Trial Resources
This resource, with special thanks to Clermont County Common Pleas Court Mediator & Senior Magistrate Harold Paddock for developing and sharing, is perfect if you are getting lost trying to navigate the Mock trial evidence "maze".
The American Bar Association has created a guide to putting on Mock Trials. It has helpful information about the components of a trial, advise for students and sample trials.
Make Your Case is a courtroom trial simulation in which students control the action as they experience a real courtroom setting. Make Your Case was developed by Scholastic in conjunction with the American Board of Trial Advocates. The American Justice webpages also contain additional civic education resources, including lesson plans, printables and more.
This publication enhances the Mock Trial experience for students, teachers, coaches and judges by providing an interactive area that will help students better understand the trial process and learning tools for new and experienced advisors. Access to the site is available for $100 per team (up to 8 students) and $10 for each additional student, renewable each year.
Introducing Case Files
Click Here to check out these five easy steps which explain how to introduce a case to your students so they get the most out of it. This can be used as a starting point to introduce the Mock Trial case file to your students to help them understand the basic elements.
OCLRE talked to two of our experienced advisors to find out how they get the Mock Trial year started. This video will give high school advisors and teachers insight on how to approach and prepare for the Mock Trial competition. The advisors share tips, lesson plans, and past experiences.
The Foundation of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), has a YouTube channel with short videos offering mock trial tips for students. The videos include helpful suggestions for conducting direct and cross-examination, opening statements and closing arguments.
OCLRE created this video to help students and teachers learn the basics of a mock trial presentation. It details what each part of the trial is about and how the students should approach each section. The video uses examples from a state championship round so you can see each part of the trial in action.
Annual Lori Urogdy Eiler Award
The Eiler Award for Mock Trial Coaching Excellence is 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.
To nominate your team advisor: Eiler Award for Mock Trial Coaching Excellence
How do I get started?
If you or your school/organization are new to Ohio Mock Trial, welcome! First, you need the case file… The case is released annually at the Law & Citizenship Conference. Conference attendees are the first to receive their copy of the case and are also able to attend many mock trial related sessions, including the case presentation by members of the case writing committee and OCLRE staff. In addition to the case file, conference attendees hear from top-notch speakers in the fields of civics, social studies, law, and government, and leave with 30+ lessons and resources. Additionally, if you register for the Law & Citizenship Conference, you will receive a discount on the cost of the case file. As part of the conference, you can also attend an intro to Mock Trial professional development day for only $10 (regularly $25). This professional development session is intended for those who are new to mock trial, or who would like a refresher.
I am unable to attend the Law & Citizenship Conference but want to get the Mock Trial case. What do I do?!
Take a deep breath and relax. You can still order the case! Complete the form under the "Case File" tab and the case file will be sent to you. Please note that cases will not be sent until after the Law & Citizenship Conference in September.
I’ve got my case materials. Is that all? Am I ready to compete?
NO. Not yet. Team registration is a separate cost and registration form. Most team advisors wait until closer to the registration deadline, usually mid-December, to make sure that student interest hasn’t waned and to be certain of the number of teams they will field. A team consists of 5 – 11 students.
My students and I are struggling with start-up. Who can help us?
OCLRE has teacher mentors for all of its programs, including mock trial. Teacher mentors have expressed willingness to help other teachers who are new to a program, to answer questions from the teacher perspective or offer advice. Click Here to access a list of mentors. You can also contact the Mock Trial Program Coordinator Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre, (614) 485-3507.
How much time should my students and I spend on practice and preparation?
The short and simple answer is: it varies. Some teams are classroom-based and therefore spend class time each week preparing. Other teams are extra-curricular and meet one or more times per week, before or after school or on weekends. Others may only have time to meet a few times per month. There is no right or wrong answer. Figure out what works best for you, your fellow advisors (if any), and your students. The case is released in September and the first competition date is at the end of January, so at most teams have about four months to prepare.
I don’t have a legal advisor. Do I need one?
OCLRE does not require that mock trial teams have a legal advisor, however, most teachers appreciate assistance from volunteer attorneys, who help students understand case law, courtroom procedure and etiquette. Often times a mock trial legal advisor is the parent of a student or a local attorney who volunteers in his/her community. The time commitment for volunteer legal advisors varies and is worked out between the teacher/team advisor and attorney. If you are unable to find a legal advisor, contact Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre, and OCLRE may be able to put you in contact with an interested local attorney.
When and where do my students compete?
District Competition (the first round of competition) takes place in January. To the greatest extent possible, teams are assigned to a competition site closest to their school. Competition site placement is based on a number of factors, including teams’ ability to travel and courtroom availability at local competition sites. Teams that win both trials (having played both P and D) at the District level advance to Regional Competition in February. Teams that win both trials at Regional Competition will advance to State Competition, in March in Columbus. The state champion team is eligible to compete in the National Mock Trial Competition.
I have a question about or found a discrepancy in, the facts of the case and/or a witness statement. What do I do?
OCLRE will post errata on the Mock Trial page every two weeks beginning in October and going through January. Errata questions must be submitted by the teacher or legal advisor, not students, and should be directed to email@example.com.
It’s competition day and there is inclement weather in my part of the state/school is delayed/school is closed, etc. What do I do?
If your team cannot make it to the competition site, please immediately notify the district/regional competition coordinator where you are scheduled to compete (available in January) as soon as possible. You should also notify OCLRE by contacting Danielle Wilmot, dwilmot@oclre, (614) 485-3507. Teams are expected to follow school district policy and/or common sense when making the decision whether or not to travel in inclement weather. Most importantly: safety should come first! The scheduling of make-up competitions is at the discretion of OCLRE and the affected site coordinators (please see page 10 of the case manual for make-up competition policy).
My school doesn’t have a mock trial team, but I want to get involved. What can I do?
Are you a high school student? Start by talking to a teacher – it could be a social studies teacher, the drama teacher, or even the principal. If you and four or more interested students are willing to take on the challenge, the teacher may be willing, too. There is some expense involved, so make sure to factor that into consideration. If you get buy-in from school personnel, refer the person to the top of this list of FAQs for next steps. If a student can’t convince a teacher in his/her school, please contact OCLRE. On occasion, there are non-school affiliated community teams or other opportunities to get involved.
I am having trouble with the online order form and am getting frustrated. What should I do?
Don’t worry – OCLRE is here to help! Call us at (614) 485-3510 or toll-free at (877) 485-3510 and ask for Cathy. She can guide you through problems and make sure you get what you need. Additionally, Cathy can answer questions about usernames and passwords, as well as payment options. OCLRE endeavors to continually improve our online order and registration processes to benefit our constituents and your feedback help us to do so.
What are the payment options for online orders and registrations? Do I have to use a credit card?
OCLRE offers several payment options. You may pay with a credit card, request to be invoiced, or enter a purchase order (PO) number. If the PO number is not known at the time an order is placed, you may select the purchase order option and then enter “pending” for the number.
How do I know if my order/registration has been completed successfully?
When orders and registrations have been submitted successfully to OCLRE, an automatic email confirmation is generated and should arrive in your inbox within minutes. If you do not receive a confirmation email within an hour, please contact OCLRE.
A few helpful hints for proper form completion:
- Follow the process all the way through, using the “Next” and “Submit” buttons.
- Complete all required (*) fields or you will not be able to proceed/finish
- Complete the payment portion of the form, even if you are not paying by credit card.
- Other options that you can select include requesting an invoice or entering a PO number (or indicate that a PO is in process and the number is “pending”)
None at this time.