For the twelfth year, members of the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association (NPBA) taught basic trial skills to students from the Norfolk Public School system. The mock trial program originally began with two schools and has now grown to eight schools with over 100 students participating.
This year's program began in February and students met weekly with the volunteer lawyers who taught lessons on opening statement, direct examination, cross examination and closing statement. The students were assigned roles as attorneys and witnesses for the mock trial case, Commonwealth of Virginia v. Dennis, a criminal case based on charges of murder at Norfolk High School.
Thanks to the continued support of the Norfolk Circuit Court the program concluded with mock trials in six separate courtrooms on April 21, 2017 pitting the prosecution team from one school against the defense team from another in front of judges with a jury. Following the trials, verdicts were rendered and the judges provided valuable feedback to the students on their performances. Each of the middle school students received participation medals for their efforts and this year’s two finalists were named to crown an overall champion the following week at Norview High School. The defense team for the Academy for Discovery at Lakewood.
This year’s program was co-chaired by Wayne Williams who has coordinated the program since 2006 and attorney Kim Phillips who wish to thank all the great attorney volunteer teachers, Sandy Claxton of the Norfolk Circuit Court, Valerie Tuck of the Norfolk Public Schools, the Norfolk Sheriff’s Department, the Norfolk Police Department and the presiding judges who all made the program possible and a great success!