A series of special trials will take place next week at the Hayes Building — during the 2016 Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition.
Students from Delaware Hayes High School, Big Walnut High School, Olentangy Orange High School, Village Academy and Dublin Jerome High School will participate in the Jan. 29 competition, which includes 3,000 high school students statewide every year.
Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley serves as the Delaware County coordinator for the mock trial program and said there will be five mock trials between 9:15 and 11:15 a.m., followed by a lunch break, and then five more trials from 1:15 to 3:15 p.m.
The trials will be held in the juvenile and probate courtrooms on the first floor of the Hayes Building.
Gormley said this year’s fictional case revolves around a police officer facing a felonious assault charge after a confrontation with a person in a parking lot. The students will either have to argue that his use of force was justified or argue that it was unjustified.
“The high school students who participate in the program are given written materials that enable them to portray witnesses and lawyers on both sides of a fictional legal dispute, and they present their cases to three-member panels of local attorneys who have volunteered their time to serve as judges for the competition,” Gormley said.
Each team consists of five to 11 students and each team will take part in two trials.
“Students who participate in the mock-trial competition learn firsthand about the law and about court procedures, and they build analytical and communication skills,” Gormley said.
Gormley added that district winners from throughout the state will advance to a regional competition on Feb. 19 and the regional winners will continue onto the state finals March 10-12 in Columbus.
At last year’s competition, teams from Thomas Worthington and St. Francis DeSales were victorious and advanced in the next round.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.