Local Students Back in Court, Tackle Students’ Rights in Mock Trial Competition
COLUMBUS (February 16, 2023) - More than 700 Ohio high school students are one step closer to representing Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in May. Out of the 202 teams that participated in the District Competition last month, 83 teams will now advance to the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s (OCLRE) 40th Annual Ohio Mock Trial Regional Competition, which will take place in courtrooms across the state on Friday, February 17.
The 2023 Ohio Mock Trial case examines the complexities of school investigations into incidents of misconduct, specifically when the misconduct may have criminal implications. Fictional defendant Stevie Khan is petitioning the court to suppress incriminating statements they made during questioning by their high school’s Dean of Students and a School Resource Officer (SRO). Statements Khan made during the questioning led to a search warrant and their ultimate arrest for criminal trespassing, battery, and destruction of school property. Now, Khan is seeking relief, claiming they were in custody during the questioning, but they were not Mirandized before the questioning began. The state is asking the court to deny Khan’s motion, asserting that Miranda warnings were not necessary because Khan was never in custody, nor were they questioned by an agent of law enforcement.
OCLRE Mock Trial Program Coordinator Danielle Wilmot explains that this year’s case “asks students to grapple with a constitutional issue that is relevant to their lives, particularly in a time when School Resource Officers are becoming more common. They can see how the law applies to them as high school students, rather than learning about it in the abstract.”
Each Ohio Mock Trial team consists of five to eleven students who assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses to present both sides of an original, unscripted case based on an important constitutional issue. At the regional level 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 11 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 17, along with the location of each competition site. The website will be updated after the competition with a list of teams that qualify for the State Competition.
The 2023 State Competition will take place over the course of three days, beginning on March 9 and ending with the State Championship which will be held at the Supreme Court of Ohio on March 11. The 2023 state champion team will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Competition which will take place May 18-20 in Little Rock, AR, hosted by the Arkansas Mock Trial Foundation.
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.