Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sixteen Teams Prepare for 22nd Annual State Finals

The Georgia Mock Trial Competition has gained a national reputation for excellence due to the outstanding performance of its teams at the National High School Mock Trial Championship. Now, fourteen regional champion and two wildcard teams are preparing to meet in competition at the State Finals the weekend of 13-14 March, in Lawrenceville. The winner will represent the state in the national tournament to be held 5-9 May in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania competing against 42 state champion teams from across the country and around the world.

The regional champion teams are from Alexander High School (Douglasville), Clarke Central High School (Athens), Central High School (Macon), Decatur High School (Decatur), Union County High School (Blairsville), Grady High School (Atlanta), Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro), McIntosh High School (Peachtree City) Ola High School (McDonough), Savannah Country Day School (Savannah), Walton High School (Marietta), Lowndes County High School (Valdosta), Brookwood High School (Snellville), and Woodland High School (Cartersville). The northern wildcard team is from Milton High School (Alpharetta) and the southern wildcard team is from Douglas County High School (Douglasville).

The defending state champion team, which placed 8th at the 2009 national tournament, is Grady High School (Atlanta). Grady is again among the schools competing for the 2010 state championship. All trials will take place at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville.

All teams will compete on Saturday, 13 March in rounds scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. A reception for the regional champions will be held Saturday afternoon at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, where outstanding attorneys and witnesses from the preliminary rounds will be honored. The reception will close with the announcement of the four semi-finalist teams, who will meet in competition on Sunday, 14 March at 9:30 AM. The two finalists will be announced at 12 Noon on Sunday, and they will compete in the championship round at 1:30. Presiding over the championship rounds will be Justice David Nahmias (Supreme Court of Georgia) and Judge Melodie Clayton (State Court of Cobb County).

The Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia sponsors the competition, with primary financial support from the Council of State Court Judges and the State Bar of Georgia.

General Information about the Georgia High School Mock Trial Competition

Since 1988, thousands of students from Georgia's public and private schools have participated in the Georgia High School Mock Trial Competition. Coached by volunteer attorneys and teachers, teams of 14 students work together to prepare their presentations from case materials provided by the High School Mock Trial Committee.

In the competition phase, students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses based on the evidence and witness statements. Professional attorneys or judges serve as the presiding judges and juror/evaluators. Adding to the authenticity of the competition, teams compete in actual courtrooms across the state beginning with the regional competitions in early February. Regional winners and wildcard teams gather in Lawrenceville, GA, to compete for the state title and a chance to advance to the National High School Mock Trial Championship.

This year’s mock trial case is a criminal problem, State of Georgia v. Clay/Claire Stafford. In this case, the defendant (Stafford) is accused of aggravated assault against a classmate during a graduation party. Teams have been working to perfect their presentations since the case was released on November 16th. Teams are evaluated on their ability to make a logical, cohesive and persuasive presentation, rather than on the legal merits of the case.

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