The new falcon herald logo.
El Paso County Colorado District 49

Their day in court

Attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant are ready to present their cases, while witnesses are waiting to present their testimony. No, it is not the latest high-profile court case in the state, it is a group of Falcon High School students trying a civil court case at the 22nd Colorado Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament.Carolyn Gravit, CBA public legal education director, said the goal of the tournament is to give high school students who participate in the mock trial program a rare opportunity to learn about the processes of the law.During this yearís competition, teams tried a civil case involving an accident where a pickup truck and train collided at a crossing in rural Adams County, killing the 17-year-old driver of the truck,FHS mock trial team head coach Lauren Murphy said, although this yearís trial was fictional, it was loosely based on an actual Colorado court case. Plaintiffs in the mock trial argued that a lack of signage caused the accident; the defense contended the teen was not paying attention while driving, which resulted in the crash.Gravit said teams prepare both sides of the case, and they donít know which side they will take until they step into the courtroom. ìStudents perform all roles and are judged on how well they know the case,î she said. The students question the witnesses, advocate their side of the case, make and respond to objections, and judge how well the witnesses play their roles, including their speaking and persuasive argument skills, Gravit said.Judges, community members and lawyers score the competition, said Murphy, who also is a FHS special education teacher.FHS competed in the state tournament against 19 Colorado high schools in March at the Adams County Justice Center. Prior to the state tournament, more than 100 Colorado teams participated in the regional competition in early February. Each region sent teams to the state competition.Two Falcon High School juniors won individual awards. Keith Brandsma received an outstanding witness award, and Zach Welch won an outstanding attorney award, Murphy said.Critical thinking, preparation skills and dedication are just a few of the skills students take away from the competition. ìEven if they donít win, they have pride that they have worked day in and day out on the same case as other schools in the state,î Gravitt said. ìIt takes a great deal of dedication.îAs a multifaceted club, Murphy said team members gain confidence, new friends, an understanding of the basics of law and increased involvement in the school community.FHS mock trial team tryouts are held for one week. Students are placed into one of three groups. The C team currently has seven members, the B team has 10 students and the A team has nine. ìEveryone who wants on a team gets on a team,î she said.Murphy said this is the first year FHS received a bid to the tournament since the mock trial team split from the Sand Creek High School team about 10 years ago.ìThe kids did an excellent job,î Murphy said. ìMany teams participating have an attorney coach, which is standard. We didnít. This is also my first year as coach. The kids really overcame a lot.î

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers