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High School Students Learn Legal Skills in 2024 Mock Trial Tournament; Eight Teams Advance to Next Rounds

Mock Trial opening ceremonies.
  • Instructional Support Services

The Mock Trial Program began its 2024 multi-round competition on Saturday, March 16 with teams from Chester, Goshen, James I. O'Neill, Minisink Valley, Middletown, Monroe-Woodbury, Newburgh Free Academy, Port Jervis, Valley Central, Warwick Valley, and Washingtonville.

The high school teams faced off in "courtrooms" argued their cases before Orange County judges. Eight of the participating teams scored enough points to advance to the next rounds. 

New York State Mock Trial Tournament is an educational program designed to teach secondary students basic legal and trial skills. Students learn how to conduct direct and cross examinations, how to present opening and closing statements, how to think on their feet, and learn the dynamics of a courtroom.

 Students will also learn how to analyze legal issues and apply the law to the facts of a case.  On the state level, the Mock Trial Program is sponsored by the New York State Bar Association. Locally, the program is sponsored and coordinated by Orange-Ulster BOCES in collaboration with the Honorable Craig S. Brown and the Honorable Kimberly Van Haaster.

Local judges, attorneys, legal professionals, and educators volunteer their time to preside over the mock courtrooms and assist with running the program.  All those involved in the Mock Trial Program dedicate a great deal of time preparing for the trials.  For the 2024 tournament, the students are arguing a fictitious criminal case: “The People of the State of Nirvana vs. Lindsay Gordon.”   

The advancing teams that will move on to the next rounds are from Chester, Goshen, James I. O'Neill, Minisink Valley, Monroe-Woodbury, Newburgh, Warwick and Washingtonville. The four single-elimination trials between the advancing teams will be held in the Emanuel Axelrod Education Center at OU BOCES on Saturday, April 6, 2024, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The four prevailing teams will then progress to the semi-final trials, to be held that afternoon.

The winner of the Mock Trial Tournament moves on to the Regional Tournament in Orange County and from there, they have the opportunity to progress to the New York State Mock Trial Tournament to be held in Albany on May 19-21, 2024.  

For more information about the Mock Trial Tournament, please contact Melanie Lofaro, Assistant Director of Instructional Support Services, at Orange-Ulster BOCES — (845) 781-4363, extension 10702 or melanie.lofaro@ouboces.org.

Teams from Warwick Valley and Chester compete at Orange-Ulster BOCES Division of Instructional Support Services' Mock Trial

Teams from Warwick Valley and Chester compete at Orange-Ulster BOCES Division of Instructional Support Services' Mock Trial multi-round competition on Saturday, March 16 at the Emanuel Axelrod Education Center in Goshen.