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Local high school students compete in Statewide Mock Trial Competition

January 25, 2013

The Young Lawyers Division of the Lackawanna Bar Association announced the start of district competitions for the Statewide Mock Trial Championships Jan. 23, 2013 at the Lackawanna County Courthouse and Federal Courthouse in Scranton. Abington Heights, Carbondale Area, Dunmore, Holy Cross, Honesdale, Lackawanna Trail, Lakeland, Mid Valley, North Pocono, Scranton, Scranton Prep, Valley View, West Scranton and Western Wayne will be participating in the local competition for Region 5, District 3, which includes Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties.

These schools are among the 333 high school teams across Pennsylvania competing in the district-level of competition. Pennsylvania’s mock trial program is one of the largest in the nation.

Sponsored statewide by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the mock trial competition gives eight-member student teams the opportunity to argue both sides of a 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 lawyer advisors 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.

For this year's hypothetical case, a jury must determine if the developer of an urban renewal project is responsible for a crane collapse that kills two people.

The district level competitions will continue throughout this month and into February and March with 12 teams advancing to the PBA Statewide Mock Trial Championships March 22 and 23 in Harrisburg. The winner of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania at the national mock trial finals in late spring in Indianapolis.

The District 3 Competition began with Round 1 January 23. The second round is scheduled for Jan. 30, with the semifinal and final rounds Feb. 5 and 12, respectively. All dates are subject to change, and are weather permitting.

For more information on the 2013 PBA Statewide Mock Trial Championships and to read this year’s case, visit the Young Lawyers Division pages on the PBA website at http://www.pabar.org.