CHAMPAIGN — A Roxana High School team will be one of 42 student squads from throughout Illinois that will participate in the 33rd annual Illinois State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitational March 14-15 at the University of Illinois College of Law.
The top eight teams will compete for the state championship in the final round on March 15. The winner will represent Illinois at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Raleigh, N.C.
“The invitational is civics education on steroids,” said Judge Michael J. Chmiel, of Woodstock, chair of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public, which conducts the program. “It provides students and their families with a unique opportunity to learn about our legal system from the trenches — thanks go to the ISBA, the University of Illinois, and many volunteer lawyers and judges for providing this opportunity.”
Each 10-member team tries both sides — plaintiff and defense — of a hypothetical case developed by the ISBA Committee. This year’s case is People of the State of Illinois vs. Casey Jones, a criminal case in which the defendant is charged with home invasion and aggravated battery in connection with a break-in at the home of the defendant’s former paramour.
Students will assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses, and a panel of Illinois lawyers and judges, along with members of the ISBA Law Related Education Committee, will rate the students’ performance. The students must also take a written test about the issues of the case and basic legal principles.
The invitational has been conducted each year since 1982 by the ISBA to give Illinois high school students insight into the American judicial system. Co-sponsors of the 2015 event are Illinois LEARN Inc.; the Illinois Trial Team of the University of Illinois; and the University of Illinois College of Law.
The 33,000-member ISBA (www.isba.org), with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public through a website (www.illinoislawyerfinder.com), consumer brochures, and distribution of legal information.