WARREN, NJ - Thirty-six 7th and 8th graders from Warren Middle School presented three mock trial cases at the Warren Township Court House on December 22, with the Honorable Judge Mark Adler presiding. The students, who are all participants in the Enrichment Education (E2) Program at the middle school, prepared over the course of 12 weeks. The three civil cases, Tattoo Trouble, The Case of the Texting Student, and Olympic Dreams Go Downhill, were submissions to the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Law Adventure (NJSBF) Contest from previous years.
The students each chose one of the three cases and then developed either the defense or plaintiff sides. Many students were assigned attorney roles for opening statements, direct questions, cross-examination, and closing statements, while other students assumed the roles of the witnesses in the cases. Since the mock trials were prepared, but not scripted, the witnesses had to be prepped as if they were real witnesses with testimonies and personalities based upon the depositions in each of the cases. The Honorable Judge Mark Adler not only presided over the cases as the judge, but he taught them aspects of the law in more detail as well.
Dr. Susan Cooper, the Warren Middle School gifted and talented teacher has been preparing E2 students for the “moot court” for 15 years. “I am always impressed with how seriously the students take their roles as lawyers and witnesses,” said Cooper. “They prepare for weeks, dress the parts, and assume they are real lawyers.” The E2 students will embark on a new mock trial challenge in January where they will write cases for the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s 2015 Law Adventure Contest. Warren Middle School has won six NJSBF honors in the past 14 years. Only 16 cases are chosen as state winners each year.
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