By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — “The defense rests” and “Objection, Your Honor!” are common phrases used by lawyers in jury trials. Local students put to use those phrases in a mock trial on Wednesday, April 28, in the Kosciusko County Courthouse.
Thirteen students from Warsaw, Goshen, Huntington and Wabash homeschool programs participated in the mock trial titled “Commonwealth v. Zillias.” The case is a fictional criminal trial in which a real estate developer is charged with reckless homicide in the deaths of two people following the collapse of a construction crane at a building site.
Students who participated in the trial were Colin Campbell, Anna Denham, Aiden Etner, Christina Miller, Asia Pullin, Tanner Reynolds, Kennedy Yordy, Izayah Castro, Simon Lopshire, Wrigley Lockwood, Karis Troyer, Calvin Trotter and Elijiah Leslie.
In preparation for the Classical Conversations mock trial, students and their respective directors spent the majority of the second semester preparing for the trial. Students played many roles during the trial, including as attorneys and witnesses on both sides. They then receive points based on their performance.
The mock trial is conducted as an educational exercise, with the primary objective being for students to apply analytical, rhetorical and critical thinking skills while participating in the trial. Students also learned about the importance of research and how crucial it is to find the most important facts in a large amount of information.
Local attorney and future Kosciusko Superior Court 1 Judge Karin McGrath acted as the judge for the trial. Kosciusko Superior Court 4 Judge Chris Kehler and local attorneys Tony Garza and Felicity Havrilla acted as jurors. The jurors and judge awarded points to both teams based on set criteria.
Ivy Tech Professor Shari Benyousky acted as administrator over the trial proceedings. State Representative Craig Snow also made an appearance at the trial to commend students for their work.