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Student Mock Trial competition practice set to start

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By Ashley Berg

By Ashley Berg

Join the Mock Trial Team: A Closer Look at Law and Order.

If you’ve been intrigued by the famous “I WANT THE TRUTH!” excerpt from A Few Good Men and enjoy the world of trial and error, then you might be interested in signing up for the RCC Mock Trial team this year. Students all over America in community colleges and universities alike compete every year to gain a better understanding of law and order and to simply have fun.

RCC student Irene Laybourne joined the Mock Trial team last fall, and her first experience with Mock Trials was a good one. “At first, I thought I was not going to be interested in it,” said Laybourne, “so I went to go see what the club was about-it (was) very fun.”

Riverside Community College competed in their first Mock Trial 5 years ago and hasn’t competed since then until last year. At their comeback, the team proudly brought home an Outstanding Witness award from the competition hosted by the University of Southern California.

Considering “RCC was the ONLY community college in the regional competition in Los Angeles [last year],” Professor Laneshia Judon DeCarmo says, that’s an amazing accomplishment when their competitors included some prestigious and well-known universities such as USC, UCLA, Loyola-Marymount, Notre Dame, and Tennessee State University.

RCC student and Laybourne’s teammate, Kenneth Ross, joined the Mock Trial team in February 2004 because it “sounded like fun.” he said, “We didn’t expect to win; we went to learn.”

This year, DeCarmo is hoping to take two teams to the competition, each composed of 6 members: 3 attorneys and 3 witnesses.

“Students really get to decide [who the key players will be and] what will work best for them and what they have a passion and liking for. Generally, a student must play and know how to play at least TWO parts: an attorney and a witness,” DeCarmo explains. Meetings are tentatively scheduled on Tuesday’s from 12:40-1:40 PM in BE 210 for the next few weeks for any students interested in participating this year.

The Mock Trial program was created in 1980 by the Constitutional Rights Foundation to help students increase their knowledge of the judicial system. Additionally, Mock Trials help students develop critical thinking and communication skills, while gaining an understanding of their role in a society. “The students find [the Mock Trials] educational and entertaining,” DeCarmo adds.

Every year, the Constitutional Rights Foundation creates a new Mock Trial based on an important issue affecting America’s youth. The materials include lesson plans on the main issue in the case, a hypothetical criminal/civil case, and rules and guidelines. “This year’s trial is a Civil Trial. They alternate between Civil and Criminal,” DeCarmo says. Currently, DeCarmo is in the process of downloading the complete package, consisting of about 100 pages, so the details of the trial are not known.

“My whole team from last year, including myself of course, is very excited about the upcoming competition,” DeCarmo boasts. Last year’s members include: Brad Andrews, Loredina Chude, Willard Clampitt, Charles (Chuck) Evelyn, Irene Laybourne, Antonio Oliva (who earned the Outstanding Witness award for the team last year), Kenneth Ross, and Patriece T. Ussery. Students interested in increasing an understanding of the processes and basics of the legal system, basic skills and even self-confidence, contact Professor Judon DeCarmo via email: laneshia.judondecarmo@rcc.edu or attend one of the on campus meetings.

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