Illinois State Bar Association’s High School Mock Trial Invitational to Take Place March 8 – 9 in Champaign
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Teams from 42 high schools statewide will participate in the 32nd annual Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) High School Mock Trial Invitational on March 8 and 9, 2014, at the University of Illinois School of Law in Champaign.
The top eight teams will compete in the final round on March 9, for the state championship. The winner will represent Illinois at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Madison, Wisconsin.
“The mock trial competition provides a unique opportunity for high school students to learn civics through the courtroom,” says Hon. Michael J. Chmiel, of Woodstock, chair of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public, which conducts the program. “Through the efforts of the ISBA and the University of Illinois, high schools have the rare chance to fully expose their students to a valued and necessary profession.”
Each 10-member team tries both sides – plaintiff and defense – of a hypothetical case developed by the ISBA Committee. This year’s case is Jersey Johnson v. Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). On Halloween Eve 1938, CBS’s radio program, “Mercury Theater on the Air,” presented an interpretation of, The War of the Worlds. A disclaimer aired at the beginning of the broadcast informing listeners that the work was fictional. Johnson and his/her cousin, Logan St. Clair, did not hear the original disclaimer or one that aired 40 minutes into the program, and believed it to be true. To avoid being captured by aliens, they went into hiding in the cellar of their home. They were later found by authorities in a state of mental disarray and physical deterioration from their time in hiding. In a lawsuit, Johnson alleged that CBS intentionally caused emotional distress and that he/she is now ostracized in the community because of the incident.
Students will assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses, and a panel of Illinois lawyers and judges, along with members of the ISBA Law Related Education Committee, will rate the students' performance. The students must also take a written test about the issues of the case and basic legal principles.
The high school mock trials have been conducted each year since 1982 by the ISBA to provide Illinois high school students an interesting and challenging way to gain insight into the American judicial system. Co-sponsors of the 2014 event are Illinois LEARN, Inc.; the Illinois Trial Team of the University of Illinois; the University of Illinois College of Law; and the Diversity Scholarship Foundation of Chicago.
The 32,000-member ISBA (isba.org), with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public through a website (illinoislawyerfinder.com), consumer brochures, and distribution of legal information.
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Members of the media are welcome to cover any portion of the mock trials over the two-day period.
Illinois State Bar Association 32nd Annual Mock Trial Invitational
March 8–9, 2014 • University of Illinois School of Law, Champaign
Bartlett High School - Bartlett
Benet Academy - Lisle
Boylan Catholic High School - Rockford
Carmel Catholic High School - Mundelein
Chatham Glenwood High School - Chatham
Chicago Christian High School - Palos Heights
De La Salle Institute - Chicago
Deerfield High School - Deerfield
Evanston Township High School - Evanston
Glenbard East High School - Lombard
Glenbard South High School - Glen Ellyn
Guerin College Prep - River Grove
Highland Park High School - Highland Park
Hinsdale Central High School - Hinsdale
Hinsdale South High School - Darien
Homewood-Flossmoor High School - Flossmoor
Huntley Consolidated High School - Huntley
Law Explorer Post #1 - Springfield
Libertyville High School - Libertyville
Maine East High School - Park Ridge
Maine South High School - Park Ridge
Mount Carmel High School - Chicago
Mt Vernon Township High School - Mt. Vernon
Niles West High School - Skokie
Normal Community High School - Normal
Normal Community West High School - Normal
O'Fallon Township High School - O'Fallon
Oak Park and River Forest High School - Oak Park
Pittsfield High School - Pittsfield
Providence Catholic High School - New Lenox
Rich Central High School - Olympia Fields
Roxana High School - Roxana
Salem High School - Salem
South Elgin High School - South Elgin
St. Charles East High School - St. Charles
St. Charles North High School - St. Charles
Thornton Fractional North High School - Calumet City
Timothy Christian High School - Elmhurst
Uno Garcia Charter - Chicago
Wheaton Academy - Chicago
Willowbrook High School - Villa Park
York Community High School - Elmhurst
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