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Holy Redeemer High School and Scranton Preparatory School Advance to State Mock Trial Championships

HARRISBURG (March 24, 2009) - The Holy Redeemer High School Mock Trial Team and the Scranton Preparatory School Mock Trial Team are two of 12 Pennsylvania high school teams advancing to the 25th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg. The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals to be held May 6 - 10 in Atlanta, Ga.

A Scranton Preparatory School Mock Trial Team won the 1991 state championship.

"Students participating in these final rounds of competition are not only impressive but inspiring to watch," said Ryan Blazure of Kingston, chair of the association's Young Lawyers Division and co-chair of the Statewide Mock Trial Executive Committee. "To make it this far in the competition, the students must demonstrate excellent communication and analytical skills and the ability to work together as a team. There is no doubt that these students give it their all in attempts to be named '2009 Mock Trial Champions.'"

All 12 teams will compete in two quarterfinal rounds from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds will advance to the semifinal round at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The state championship round will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday with Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, presiding.

This year, 316 teams from 267 schools competed in district and regional levels of Pennsylvania's mock trial competition - one of the largest in the nation. This year's fictional case centers on an employer's potential liability for the negligent actions of an employee.

During 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 and lawyer coaches in preparing for competition. Volunteer lawyers 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 Holy Redeemer High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Frank Artiz, Katie Corgan, Otari Giutashvili, Conor Harrington, Patrick Kalish, Thomas Mike, Jenna Minetola and Leanne Zebro. The teacher coaches are Steven Wise and Keith Zielen. Edward Olexi and C. David Pedri are the lawyer coaches.

The Scranton Preparatory School Mock Trial Team is composed of Jennifer Boland, Joseph Burke, Elisabeth Costanzo, Morgan Duffy, Julia Fick, Colin Holmes, Stephen Murphy and Amber Rybnick. The teacher coaches are Mary Grace Phillips and Henry Shea. Magistrate Judge Malachy Mannion, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and John O'Brien are the lawyer coaches.

Blazure's co-chair of the Mock Trial Executive Committee is Jennifer J. Walsh of Scranton. This year's mock trial case was written by Jonathan A. Grode, a 2008 graduate of the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law. Jane E. Meyer, a prior chairperson of the PBA/YLD Mock Trial Committee and current member of the National High School Mock Trial Championship Board of Directors, edited the final version of the problem in collaboration with Grode.

Drexel University is the proud partner of the PBA's statewide mock trial program and is the leadership sponsor of the 2010 National Mock Trial Competition, which will be held in Philadelphia, May 6 - 9, 2010.

The Pennsylvania Cable Network will record the final round of the competition for airing statewide on the following dates and times: April 3 at 7 p.m., April 4 at 5 p.m. and April 5 at 3 p.m. The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, is providing funding support for the broadcast. Also, DVDs of the final round will be available for purchase from the network's Web site at www.pcntv.com.

For more information on the 2009 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, visit the PBA Web site at http://www.pabar.org.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.