Ohio Mock Trial Students Will Argue in Virtual Courtrooms
COLUMBUS (Jan. 12, 2022) - Beginning Thurs., Jan. 13, 2022, more than 1,800 high school students representing 135 schools from across Ohio will compete in the first round of the 39th Annual Ohio Mock Trial Competition, hosted in virtual format by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE).
The 2022 Ohio Mock Trial case focuses on the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In short, this clause protects citizens from having their property seized by the government without just compensation. When exactly does a regulation go too far? Does the government always have to compensate individuals for their property if it is heavily regulated? Hollis Fitzpatrick was the owner of a family restaurant, Fitzpatrick’s, in the fictitious State of Buckeye. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Buckeye in 2020, Fitzpatrick’s struggled financially and ultimately shut down. Hollis blames the government restrictions for the restaurant closure and is taking legal action to be compensated for their loss. Students will consider whether the pandemic restrictions were so severe that they constituted a taking of Hollis Fitzpatrick’s property that requires just compensation.
OCLRE Mock Trial Program Coordinator, Danielle Wilmot, explains that this year’s case, inspired by real world events, has students examine a lesser-known aspect of the law and its implications. “This year provided a unique opportunity to use the ongoing pandemic to contextualize a more obscure part of the constitution. The Takings Clause, while lesser known, outlines an important protection for citizens and this year’s mock trial case allows students to see how it can impact real life.”
Ohio Mock Trial is a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) and is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition. More than 1,000 legal professionals volunteer to serve as judges, competition coordinators and team advisors. Each year, OCLRE writes an original case based on a relevant constitutional issue. Students must prepare arguments for both plaintiff and defense. Mock Trial is designed to educate students about the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Students also develop critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking and listening skills.
Teams that advance from the first round of competition will advance to a second round to be held on Feb. 18. The state finals will be held March 10-12. The 2022 State Champion will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship, hosted virtually by the Michigan Center for Civic Education in Kalamazoo, MI May 5-7.
OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. The Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation sponsor the OCLRE. The Ohio Mock Trial program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information about OCLRE, please call (877) 485-3510 or visit www.oclre.org.