Students Engage in Mock Trial Case in American Law Class - Kingswood Oxford

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January 08, 2024

Students Engage in Mock Trial Case in American Law Class

We’ve heard this story before. An “accidental” death. An insurance claim. And a past case of domestic violence. As a culminating project, Stacey Savin’s elective, American Law, untangles the truth in The People v Bailey Forsythe in a mock trial criminal case. The class, consisting of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, takes on the roles of witnesses, attorneys, and defendant, in a hypothetical case involving the drowning death of Corey Forsythe following an argument between Corey and Bailey Forysthe. When Bailey tries to collect on Corey’s insurance policy, the insurance company claims that Corey’s death was a homicide.

 

The class offers an excellent opportunity to practice critical thinking and public speaking skills. The defense and prosecution maintained their composure by presenting their case with well-pointed arguments. Both sides conferred with their trial team as the case progressed. They showed several exhibits, including text messages and dinner receipts. The defense objected several times to the prosecution’s line of questioning. During the trial, Savin offered suggestions to the lawyers to strengthen their arguments. She told the lawyers to have the witnesses read their earlier testimony rather than the lawyer read it. Typically, in an official mock trial case, the individual adjudicating the proceedings cannot guide the attorneys.

 

 

Following the class, Savin spoke to the students and complimented the witnesses for their testimony and knowledge of the law, and advised the lawyers moving forward. “I would say an area for improvement in the next class is using the documents more,” she said. “Show the rushing river so that the jury can actually see it. Explain the coroner’s report and show whether it is relevant to what happened.”

 

Savin was impressed with the team’s arguments and collaborative spirit. “I am so proud of you,” she said.

 

The second part of the class met the following week to finish the trial, which ended in a hung jury. Three of the jury found the defendant guilty, and the balance found Bailey Forsythe not guilty.

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