The boys’ basketball tournament isn’t the only high school competition in Des Moines this weekend. The state mock trial tournament started this morning (Friday). Tournament director John Wheeler says 34 teams advanced from regional competitions around the state to take part in the championship, which consists of presenting a mock case. He says they have to prepare to present both the prosecution and defense at various times. This year’s case involves a first-degree murder charge at an international fencing event at the Iowa Events Center. Wheeler says the championship culminates a long preparation.He says the students have been working the last two or three months, on the problem, witness statements, exhibits, law, jury statements to formulate the case. Wheeler says real lawyers and judges will score the mock competition.He says they won’t be looking at the legal merits of the case, they’ll be evaluating how well the students portray their roles as attorneys, and witnesses, and the questions they ask. Wheeler says the competition isn’t designed to groom the next Johnnie Cochran or Sandra Day O’Connor. He says most of the students will actually not go into the legal profession. He says he knows of some attorneys who got started in mock trial, but he says the purpose of the event is not to train new lawyers. Wheeler says the competition is designed to expose and teach the students and the public about all aspects of the legal system. Wheeler says many of us never learn much about the true workings of the legal system unless we’re chosen for a jury, or take part in a lawsuit. The competition runs through today at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, and then the finals tomorrow (Saturday) are at the Iowa Judicial Building.The schools involved in the competition are: Des Moines Lincoln, Hoover, Roosevelt; West Des Moines Dowling and Valley; Waverly-Shell Rock; Ames; Carroll; Central Lyon; Garner-Hayfield; Hampton-Dumont; Dubuque Hempstead; Johnston; Council Bluffs Lewis Central; Meidapolis; Nevada; North Cedar; Pleasant Valley; Pocahontas; Robins; Sioux Center; Tripoli; Wapello.
You are here: / / State mock trial competition is now underway