The Fayetteville-Manlius High School Mock Trial team recently placed second in the Onondaga County High School Mock Trial competition in a two-hour proceeding at the Onondaga County Courthouse on Wednesday, April 12.
The F-M team, who were the 2016 defending state champs, fell to the Cazenovia team, in what was a rematch of last year’s county final competition.
Onondaga County Supreme Court Justice Deborah H. Karalunas presided over the mock case, Robin Berkman v. County of Dover, a malicious prosecution brought by an exonerated plaintiff (Robin Berkman). Central to this mock civil suit, Berkman had been convicted of burglary and attempted murder and sent to prison. There, Robin, who always denied committing the crime, contacted the Actual Innocence Project. Next, Robin brought the case against the county once the true perpetrator came forward and confessed to the convenience store burglary and attempted murder charges.
The local High School Mock Trial tournament began on Thursday, March 2, and ran for six weeks. Fourteen high schools participated, including Cazenovia, Chittenango, Christian Brothers Academy, Cortland, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fayetteville-Manlius, Jamesville-DeWitt, Jordan-Elbridge, Lafayette, Liverpool, Marcellus, Nottingham, Tully and Westhill, Nottingham High School, once again, hosted the majority of the weekly competitions that winnowed the teams down to Cazenovia and Fayetteville-Manlius.
As the winners of the county competition, Cazenovia High School now moves on to the New York State Bar Association Region 2 Mock Trial Series championship Saturday, April 22, at the Tompkins County Courthouse. The state championship will be held in Albany and is slated for May 21 to 23, where the victors from the state’s eight regions will compete.
The High School Mock Trial educational program teaches students how to maneuver in the complex setting of a courtroom applying what they’ve learned about presenting opening and closing statements, providing clear arguments and analyzing legal issues and the law. Mock trial also teaches students how to think on their feet and reminds them that good sportsmanship, respect and civility has a place in all contexts.
For more information about the New York State High School Mock Trial Competition, visit nysba.org/NYSMockTrial.