Conducting a Mock Trial

A Jury of Their Peers

To complete her cross-examination, prosecutor Sarah Carr, 16, had one final question for Andrew G., 17, the defendant in a recent case at the youth court in Colonie, N.Y.: “Didn’t you know it was wrong?” Andrew nodded shyly, eyes averted. He knew that stealing a $4.97 Star Wars action figure from Wal-Mart was not only a petty crime but also a geeky one in the eyes of his high school peers, some of whom were serving on the jury….. Continued after the image

The Youth Court System

Judge: Kenny Thai, 14, presides over Colonie youth court – image source

In Colonie, defendants finish their sentences by serving on a jury. “They know what it’s like to be in that hot seat, so they’re in a good position to find a punishment that suits the crime,” says Violet Colydas, the youth court’s director. » More in this Time Magazine article.

  • The New York Times – Learning Network – Peer Pressure
    Overview | Students learn about youth courts and explore the system further by engaging in a mock youth court trial. Go to this Law and Society Lesson
  • The New York Times – Learning Network – Conducting a Mock Trial
    Overview | What are the main components of a court proceeding? How can holding a mock trial provide insights into curricular material? In this lesson, students learn the key terms associated with the United States court system, then engage with core texts and subjects through the mock trial process. Go to this Law and Society Lesson

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LFS Lessons The Learning Foundation as an American non-profit organization developed programs to encourage independent thinking for over 35 years. My name is Keerock Rook and I have been involved with the Foundation since its inception. I edit most of the lessons.