Guilty or not Guilty, That is the Question!

by Sam R.

digital picture by Mrs. Mayer & Matthew W.

Web Design by Kristen C.


On April 4th 2003, the 5th grade PEP core group students went on a trip to the Brentwood Campus at Long Island University to participate in a Mock Trial competition. Everybody worked for 4 months to prepare for the Mock Trial. I will tell you some of the highlights of what we did to prepare for this day.

First, we read the case. We had a civil case, which is when sombody sues another person. Here is a brief summary about the case that we studied: Sandy Mathers was swinging on a rope over a jagged ravine when she hit Sean Macafee, who was on his daily run. Sandy and her friends were filming a stunt for a TV show when she hit Sean. Now the parents of Sean Macafee are suing the TV station for supposedly encouraging unruly teens to do unreasonable things.

After reading the case, we studied the law on the topic of this case. Then we wrote our direct examinations.

A direct examination is when a lawyer asks questions to a witness trying to help their side. After doing the direct examination, the other side Cross Examines a witness on your side. After we do our direct examination, our opponents do a cross examination to the witness we just finished doing our direct Exam.

A cross examination is when a attorney askes an opposing witness questions to try to force information out that helps their side. When we finished writing our direct and cross examinations, we started writing our closing and opening statements. An opening statement is when the first attorney tells the judge what their side is going to prove. The closing statement sums up what your side has already proved.

One of the most important things that an attorney should learn is objections. Attorneys have to object to some questions that the opposing side asks. For example, an attorney could object “leading,” if the opposing attorney asks “ were you there on June 12, 2001?” on a direct examination question. Leading means that the lawyer is asking a yes or no question on a direct examination.

We were very successful and we won all four preparations, which showed how hard everybody worked. The Mock Trial was a great experience and every 5th grade PEP core group student enjoyed it.


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