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Twelve Pennsylvania High Schools Advance to Statewide Mock Trial Championships

HARRISBURG (March 20, 2002) - Twelve Pennsylvania high school mock trial teams will compete in the Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships March 22-23 at the Dauphin County Courthouse, Harrisburg, Pa. The winner of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals May 9-12, 2002, in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Mn.

“The Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division sponsors this competition to give Pennsylvania high school students first-hand experience with the legal system,” said Seth A. Mendelsohn, PBA/YLD chair. “Now in its 18th year, the mock trial competition has become an important academic competitive event for high schools across the commonwealth.”

All 12 teams will compete in both quarterfinal rounds on Friday, March 22, at 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Dauphin County Courthouse. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds will advance to the semifinal round on Saturday, March 23, at 8:30 a.m. at the Dauphin County Courthouse. The state championship round will take place at noon on Saturday, March 23, in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber, with Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Eakin presiding.

This year, over 250 high schools competed in the district and regional levels of Pennsylvania’s mock trial competition - one of the largest in the nation. The same case, which is used throughout the state in all mock trial competitions, centers around a fire that destroyed a science building on a college campus and the student who was charged with arson. The case was created by a third-year law student at the Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Through the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of the case in an actual courtroom before a judge. The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher-coaches and attorney advisors in preparing for competition. Volunteer attorneys and community leaders serve as jurors in the trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams’ abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

The 12 quarterfinal teams include:

  • Abington Heights, Lackawanna County
  • Cumberland Valley High School, Cumberland County
  • Devon Preparatory, Chester County
  • Gateway High School, Allegheny County
  • Greensburg Salem High School, Westmoreland County
  • Holy Ghost Preparatory, Bucks County
  • Overbrook High School, Philadelphia
  • Quigley Catholic High School, Beaver County
  • St. Joseph Preparatory, Philadelphia
  • West York Area High School, York County
  • Williamsport Area High School, Lycoming County
  • Wyoming Seminary, Luzerne County

For more information on the 2002 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships or to read this year’s case, visit the PBA Web site at www.pabar.org.