The Vermont Bar Association was pleased to collaborate with the United States District Court for the District of Vermont, the Office of the Federal Public Defender, the Office of the Vermont Attorney General, and Vermont Law School to organize the Sixth Annual Statewide High School Mock Trial Program this year. Six schools (Milton High School, Mt. Mansfield High School, Randolph Technical Career Center, Rutland High School, Southern Vermont Career Dev’t Center and Twinfield Union School) fielded teams of students who spent the Spring preparing for the state-wide competition held last Saturday at the Vermont Law School. Lawyer volunteers (Tom Bixby, Esq., John Lacey, Esq., John Lamson, Esq., Kate Lamson, Esq., and Michael Benvenuto, Esq.) generously shared their legal expertise with the students throughout the process.
Teams of judges and practitioners (Judge Geoffrey Crawford and Joshua Diamond, Esq.; Justice Harold Eaton, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle and Mary Nerino, Esq.; Justice Bill Cohen, Judge Cort Corsones and Michael Desautels, Esq.; and Judge Mary Miles Teachout, Judge John Treadwell and David McColgin, Esq.) judged the competition, consisting of two rounds of a mock bank robbery trial, pitting prosecution teams against defense teams in four mock trial courtrooms at Vermont Law School. The Mt. Mansfield Defense Team was judged the best overall team, and awards were also given to the Best Prosecution Attorney (Jacob Leamon from MMU) and the Best Defense Attorney (Jeffrey Lewis from MMU).
Vermont Law School students (Fito Andre, Caitlyn Cournoyer and James Briggs) and VLS volunteers (Molly Russell with the VLS Environmental Law Center and VLS Professor Pamela Vesiland) ensured that the event ran smoothly. VLS Adjunct Professor and Vermont practitioner Jordana Levine, Esq. also assisted on-site with the judges’ scoring. All involved were very complimentary of the skill and professionalism that the student teams exhibited, and were grateful for the opportunity for the students to gain first-hand knowledge of criminal law and courtroom procedures.
Other objectives of the competition included furthering students’ understanding of the law and legal system, improving proficiency in speaking and reasoning skills, and increasing students’ appreciation for law-related careers. Watch for more details from the VBA in the late Fall, when we gear up for the Seventh Annual Statewide High School Mock Trial Program!
Please enjoy these photos from the program.