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02/05/2020

High School Students Head to Mock Trial Regional Competitions

Ohio Teens Head to Court, Tackle Student Speech in Mock Trial Competition

COLUMBUS (Feb. 6, 2020) - More than 800 Ohio high school students are one step closer to representing Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in May. Out of the 319 teams that participated in the District Competition on January 17, 91 teams emerged undefeated and will now advance to the next level of competition. On Friday, February 7, these students will enter courtrooms across the state to take part in the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s (OCLRE) 37th Annual Ohio Mock Trial Regional Competition.

The 2020 Ohio Mock Trial case focuses on First Amendment student speech; specifically, the difference between on-campus and off-campus speech. Fictional plaintiff Rory Maldonado is suing their former high school and the principal for violating their First Amendment right to free speech. Rory was suspended from Senior Week activities and banned from walking at graduation due to their involvement with and planning of a demonstration for gun rights. Rory claims this was a violation of their rights because the event took place off campus.

OCLRE Mock Trial Program Coordinator, Danielle Wilmot, explains that this year’s case “gives students an opportunity to explore a complex, but real-world scenario. Student speech is not well defined in our legal system and this mock trial case allows students to explore the boundaries of the First Amendment in relation to student rights.”

Each Ohio Mock Trial team consists of five to eleven students who assume the roles of witnesses and attorneys to present both sides of an original, unscripted case based on a constitutional issue. At the district and regional levels of competition, each team competes in two trials against opposing teams. Teams must win both trials to advance to the next level of competition. More than 1,000 legal professionals serve as volunteer judges, competition coordinators, and team advisors. Ohio Mock Trial is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition and among the largest high school mock trial programs in the nation.

The Ohio Mock Trial Regional Competition is hosted in 10 counties throughout Ohio. The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s website has a complete list of teams participating in the regional competition on February 7, along with the location of each competition site. The website will be updated after regionals with a list of state qualifying teams.

Teams that advance from the Regional Competition will compete in the State Competition on March 12-14 in Columbus. The 2020 state champion team will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Evansville, Indiana, May 6-9.

OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General, Ohio State Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation. The Ohio Mock Trial program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information about OCLRE and its programs, visit www.oclre.org.
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Note to editors:

Counties hosting Ohio Mock Trial regional competitions: Clermont, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lake, Scioto, Summit, Union, Washington, Wood.

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