FRANKFORT, Ky., March 14, 2012 – Thirty-one high school mock trial teams from across the commonwealth will converge in Louisville on Friday, March 16, to vie for the state title in the Kentucky High School Mock Trial Tournament. The tournament will take place Friday-Sunday, March 16-18, at the Jefferson County Judicial Center at 700 W. Jefferson St. The public and media are invited to observe the competition.
The team that wins the championship round Sunday will compete in the National High School Mock Trial Tournament that will take place May 3-6 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson and Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Denise G. Clayton will open the state competition with remarks at 11:45 a.m. EDT Friday at the judicial center. Justice Abramson and Judge Clayton represent Jefferson County on their respective courts.
The 31 mock trial teams scheduled to compete represent 27 Kentucky high schools.
Eight Louisville schools have teams that will participate in the tournament: Central High School, duPont Manual High School (two teams), Eastern High School, Louisville Collegiate School, Mercy Academy, Sacred Heart Academy, Saint Xavier High School and Western High School.
Three Madison County high schools will be represented by teams at the competition: Madison Central High School, Madison Southern High School and Model Laboratory School. Madison Central and Model Laboratory are located in Richmond and Madison Southern is in Berea. Clark Moores Middle School in Richmond, the 2011 and 2012 state middle school mock trial champion, will participate to make an even number of teams for the competition. Middle schools are not eligible for the national competition.
Teams from four Northern Kentucky schools will contend for the state title: Dixie Heights High School in Fort Mitchell, Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Newport Central Catholic High School in Newport and Larry A. Ryle High School in Union.
Ashland and Paducah each have two schools with teams in the tournament: Boyd County High School and Paul G. Blazer High School from Ashland (two teams) and Paducah Tilghman High School (two teams) and St. Mary High School from Paducah.
The other teams scheduled to compete are from Breckinridge County High School in Harned, Bullitt East High School in Mount Washington, Carlisle County High School in Bardwell, Carroll County High School in Carrollton, Hickman County High School in Clinton, Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling (two teams), Russell Independent High School in Russell and Webster County High School in Dixon.
Students will argue the case of Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Morgan Smith for the competition. In the fictional case, retired Robbinsville police officer Morgan Smith is on trial for the murder of Christy Rose, who was a dispatcher for the police department when Smith was an officer. The two began a romantic relationship after Smith retired. Rose died after being shot once in the chest in the parking lot of a condominium complex. Smith was charged with murder after ballistic tests determined that a handgun in his possession was used to shoot Rose.
District Judge Earl-Ray Neal, who serves Clark and Madison counties, wrote the competition case.
Teams will participate in at least four rounds of competition, arguing the case with a different team in every round. Each team will be assigned the role of the prosecution and the defense at least once. Team members also portray other individuals in the case, such as witnesses.
Judges score the teams in each round and the scores are totaled to determine the winner. The teams learn their scores after the last round of trials. Court of Appeals judges, circuit and district judges, attorneys and law students judge the competition.
The top 10 teams will be announced at a ceremony at 5 p.m. EDT Saturday. Patrick Yewell, executive officer of the Department of Family and Juvenile Services for the Administrative Office of the Courts, will provide remarks and present awards. The top two teams will square off in the tournament championship for the state title and the opportunity to compete at the National High School Mock Trial Tournament. The championship round will take place at 10 a.m. EDT Sunday at the Jefferson County Judicial Center.
The Red Team from Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling bested 28 other high school teams last year to win the state mock trial championship. Two teams from the school participated in the state competition. The Red Team went on to place 15th in the national tournament. The Model Laboratory School Mock Trial Team from Richmond was the runner-up in the state competition.
Since its inception in 1983, more than 12,000 students, 1,500 judges and 3,000 attorneys have taken part in the Kentucky Mock Trial program. It is one of the many law-related education programs the Kentucky Court of Justice offers for youth. The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort administers the program.