Ohio Mock Trial

   photos courtesy of Dave Liggett

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. The case is original and unscripted, and students must be prepared to argue both sides.

Ohio Mock Trial of­fers an in­no­v­a­tive ap­proach to learn­ing about 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

 Middle School Mock Trial

Combine middle school students' love of argument with a love of good literature. Middle School Mock Trial cases are literature-based, with cases  constructed from books most commonly read in the middle grades. Students learn first-hand about the law, court procedures, and the judicial system while also building critical 21st Century skills. 

Middle School Mock Trial cases are based on pop­u­lar lit­er­a­ture, writ­ten by teams of teach­ers and lawyers.  Mid­dle school stu­dents act as wit­nesses and at­tor­neys to argue cases in­volv­ing their fa­vorite char­ac­ters.  The pro­gram was de­signed with Ohio’s New Learn­ing Stan­dards for so­cial stud­ies and Eng­lish/lan­guage arts in mind, and is ideal for in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary teach­ing. Stu­dents read and an­a­lyze wit­ness state­ments drawn from the char­ac­ters in the books.  Stu­dents then work col­lab­o­ra­tively to de­velop ar­gu­ments for both sides and de­velop strate­gies to ques­tion the wit­nesses. 

Middle School Mock Trial has ten cases based on books commonly read at the middle school level. 

OCLRE chooses one case to be the featured case at the State Showcase, so if you are planning on attending the Showcase, make sure you purchase the featured case for that year.

Hsmt TrophyOhio Mock Trial High School Competition

 

Now is the time to learn more about the Ohio Mock Trial Program! In 2017, over 200 high schools participated in the Mock Trial program, and we want you to be a part of it! For more information, contact OCLRE or look on the FAQ tab of this website.

 

 

2018 Team Registration

To register a team for the 2018 Ohio Mock Trial competition, click here. The registration deadline is December 8, 2018. Registrations after the deadline will be accepted on a space-available basis, with a $30.00 late fee per team.

 

2018 Case File: State of Buckeye v. Adam Smith

To place an order for the 2018 Mock Trial Case File, CLICK HERE. New orders will be filled on Mondays and Wednesdays up until the registration deadline in December.

Throughout the season, updates and corrections to the case text will be posted here.  Errata will be posted every two weeks.  To submit an errata question, please contact Cburford@oclre.org.  To view the most recent errata (10/17/2017) please  click here.

 

2018 Case File Cover2018 Case Capsule

Inspired by the popular podcast Serial the 2018 case asks students to tackle the post-conviction relief petition from Adam Smith. In October 1999, Smith was convicted of the murder of Hayley Leigh, his ex-girlfriend and fellow student at Trillium High. 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. The state has set an evidentiary hearing to consider Smith's motion for a new trial. Due to serious attorney misconduct, Smith's original trial attorney was disbarred only a few years after his case. Both sides have stipulated to the attorney's deficient representation. The hearing will focus on whether there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the case would have been different but for the ineffective trial counsel (prejudice). 

 

Looking for a prior year's case file? Click here order previous year's case materials to order case files from 1983-2016!


 


2018 Mock Trial Dates

  • Introduction to Mock Trial PD: September 16, 2017
  • Law & Citizenship Conference: September 17-18, 2017
  • Mock Trial Case Release: September 18, 2017
  • Advanced Mock Trial PD: October 26, 2017
  • Registration Deadline: December 8, 2017
  • District Competition: January 26, 2018
  • Regional Competition: February 16, 2018
  • State Competition: March 8-10, 2018

2017-18 Mock Trial Costs

All schools wishing to participate in the 2018 Ohio Mock Trial Competition must:

  1. Purchase a case file (or receive a free copy at the Law & Citizenship Conference)
  2. Complete a team registration form by the deadline. Click Here to register.
  3. Submit a complete roster of students
  4. Complete a Behavior Standards form prior to the first competition

Case files can be ordered in either hard copy or digital versions. Digital case files are sent via e-mail as a PDF. 

Hard copy teacher manuals are loosely bound hole-punched paper and includes a copy of the ABA Guide to Mock trials. Additional hard copies for students can be ordered after a first copy has been purchased (or received at the Conference)

Materials

Member

Non-Member

Hard Copy Case File

$180

$275

Digital Copy Case File

$165

$260

Additional Copy (Hard Copy)

$23

$28

Team Registration

$170 per team

$205 per team

 


Congratulations to all teams that competed in the 2017 High School Mock Trial State Competition.

 Finalists:
Columbus School for Girls – Team Pop
Lake Ridge Academy – Team Blue
Orange High School – Team Everest
Westerville North – Team Marbury
St. Vincent St. Mary
Indian Hill High School – Team Black

 Runner-Up: Notre Dame Cathedral Latin – Legal Lions Blue


2017 Winner:  Indian Hill High School – Team Red

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

 

 Middle School Mock Trial Showcase
Oclremiddleschoolmocktrial 3603

 

Important Dates:

Registration Deadline - Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Withdrawal Deadline -  Friday, March 9, 2018 – no refunds after this date
Mock Trial Showcase Day 1 - Thursday, April 5, 2018
Mock Trial Showcase Day 2 – Friday, April 6, 2018
Mock Trial Showcase Day 3 – Thursday, April 19, 2018
Mock Trial Showcase Day 4 – Friday, April 20, 2018

 


Case Materials

To order this year's case or any of our other Middle School Mock Trial cases Case Material Order Form

  • 2018 State Showcase Piece - Rhode Island v. Charlotte Doyle, based on The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi 
  • British Crown v. Johnny Tremain, based on Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • The Community v. Jaden, based on The Giver by Lois Lowry
  •  State of Mississippi v. T.J. Avery, based on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by  Mildred Taylor
  •  State of Ohio v. Frankie Hunter, based on Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  •  Benjamin et al. v. Napoleon et al., based on Animal Farm by George Orwell
  •  State of Ohio v. John Cameron Butler, based on The Light in the Forest by      Conrad Richter
  •  State of Ohio v. Philip Malloy, based on Nothing but the Truth by Avi
  •  State of California v. George Milton, based on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  •  Rhode Island v. C. Doyle, based on True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  •  State of Ohio v. Fred Smith, based on Bloodstain by Christopher Rowan 
  •  Oklahoma v. J. Case, based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

 

Case Materials Cost

 

Member Rate
Digital

Member Rate
Print

Non-Member
Rate Digital

Non-Member
Rate Print

1 case

$35

$40

$80

$85

2 cases (each)

$30

$35

$75

$80

3+ cases (each)

$25

$30

$70

$75

**Plus shipping and handling**


Culminating Activity - State Showcase

Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Ju­di­cial Cen­ter

Give your students a chance to show what they know!  Stu­dents are eval­u­ated by at­tor­neys and judges, giv­ing them an op­por­tu­nity to show­case their knowl­edge in a re­al­is­tic way.  The show­case is open to all Ohio mid­dle school teams.

State Showcase Team Registration  - OCLRE Member: $80/team; Non-Member: $125/team

Registration is limited to 2 teams per school unless space is available after the registration deadline. 

Teams can choose to participate on any of the four days based on schedule and availability.  Teams will be placed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

All forms must be submitted by the registration deadline of February 28, 2018.


Testimonials

"Mock Trial teaches students so much more than the legal process.  They develop teamwork strategies, critical thinking skills, and so much more.  The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming after they complete a trial.” ~ Amy Huber, Ridgeview Middle School

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the legal system and to find their voices.” ~ Christine Spinner, St. Hilary School

“Middle School Mock Trial benefits the students by improving their speaking skills and helping students overcome the fear of public speaking.  It encourages students to think outside the box and dive into subject matter that is not always familiar to them.” ~ Vicky Potter, Danville Middle School

“The growth you will see in the children is well worth it!” ~Mehgan Lucas, Trellis Academy

“It is a great, self-motivated chance for students to focus on presentation skills.” ~ Drew Farrell, Genoa Middle School

It’s a fun, unique way to expose kids to the law.  It involves public speaking and thinking on your feet.  I would encourage teachers to try it!” ~ Lisa Koo, Shalom Christian Academy


For more information on how to become involved with the Middle School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Tim Kalgreen, tkalgreen@oclre.org 614-485-3515.

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High School Mock Trial District and Regional Coordinator Page

 

 

 

 

Weather Policy

Please note the weather policy, as written in OCLRE competition rule II.F (page 10):

“The competition will run as scheduled RAIN or SHINE. The only way to guarantee that a team will compete is to arrive at an open competition site. Teams travel to and from Mock Trial at their own risk, and each team’s advisor must determine whether it is safe for the team to travel to the competition site. The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education is not responsible for the safety of team members who travel to or from the Mock Trial competition. Teams MUST immediately contact the OCLRE office and the district/regional/state coordinator if weather or any other reason prevents their participation. In the event that a significant number of teams are not able to compete due to weather at the district or regional competitions, the OCLRE will make an effort to provide a suitable make-up competition for those teams, but cannot guarantee this will occur. If a make-up competition occurs, it will be scheduled within seven days of the original competition date established by OCLRE and teams may have to travel and compete on a weekend. If a team drops out of competition after district or regional schedules have been released, the team must fax the Drop Form to both OCLRE and the district or regional coordinator.”

Questions

High School Mock Trial FAQs

Middle School Mock Trial FAQs


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 one or both days of the Law & Citizenship Conference, you can attend a FREE mock trial professional development session the day prior to the conference. 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 this form 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 Cecilia Burford: Cburford@oclre.org.

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. 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 Cecilia Burford (Cburford@oclre.org), 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 Cburford@oclre.org

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 Cburford@oclre.org or (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 user names and passwords, as well as payment options. OCLRE endeavors to continually improve our online order and registration processes to benefit our customers, and your feedback helps 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”)

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I am brand new to Middle School Mock Trial. What's my first step?

Welcome! First step would be to get the case file. Middle School Mock Trial has ten cases based on books commonly read at the middle school level. 

OCLRE cases in­clude:

  • 2018 State Showcase Piece - Rhode Island v. Charlotte Doyle, based on The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi 
  • British Crown v. Johnny Tremain, based on Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes 
  • The Community v. Jaden, based on The Giver by Lois Lowry
  •  State of Mississippi v. T.J. Avery, based on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by  Mildred Taylor
  •  State of Ohio v. Frankie Hunter, based on Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  •  Benjamin et al. v. Napoleon et al., based on Animal Farm by George Orwell
  •  State of Ohio v. John Cameron Butler, based on The Light in the Forest by      Conrad Richter
  •  State of Ohio v. Philip Malloy, based on Nothing but the Truth by Avi
  •  State of California v. George Milton, based on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  •  Rhode Island v. C. Doyle, based on True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  •  State of Ohio v. Fred Smith, based on Bloodstain by Christopher Rowan 
  •  Oklahoma v. J. Case, based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

OCLRE chooses one case to be the featured case at the State Showcase, so if you are planning on attending the Showcase, make sure you purchase the featured case for that year.

How many students do I need to make a Middle School Mock trial team?
Middle School Mock trial teams consist of 6-12 students. Each team will need to play both the prosecution and defense during separate trials. How you assign roles and if a student needs to play more than one role will depend on the number of students on your team.

Do I need to plan on attending all four days of the State Showcase?
No. Middle School Mock Trial is offered over four days, but teams participate on only one day. Teachers can pick the day that works best for their schedule.

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