CJ Mock Trial Participants Gain Courtroom Experience

An invaluable experience – 13 members of the Chaminade Mock Trial team recently had the opportunity to meet with Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Gerald Parker Jr. and observe his docket.

“We visit the courtroom at least once to acquire real courtroom experience,” said Beth Marshall, CJ teacher and Mock Trial moderator. “It's eye opening for the students to see how a courtroom functions and the formality of courtroom decorum. The docket we observed was all felony charges, and Judge Parker did a great job explaining to the students what they saw. Observing actual attorneys and their clients makes our fictional case more relatable.”

From observing the proceedings to speaking directly with Judge Parker, the experience was both educational and engaging.

“I think going to a courtroom was an amazing opportunity for mock trial participants,” freshman Jaidyn Frank said. “I liked the judge explaining the correct courtroom decorum.” 

The real-world experience was something junior Barbara Nwufoh appreciated.

“I enjoyed that the experience showed the everyday operations of the courtrooms and that the docket was realistic and not something out of Law and Order,” Nwufoh said. “I enjoyed watching a judge deal civilly and respectfully with those charged with felonies instead of yelling and losing his temper. I think this experience was advantageous for me because it showed the hardships of the justice system and how it is flawed in ways such as an attorney not showing up for their client.”

The students also received advice from Judge Parker about how to prepare for and present their cases in Mock Trial competition.

But the CJ students weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the experience.

“The best part about being in my position is educating young people on our judicial system – it truly is one of the best parts of my job,” Parker said. “These CJ students were fully engaged and asked some great questions. I believe it is best for everyone to become educated on our judicial system by observing what occurs inside the courtroom rather than being misinformed by outlets outside the courtroom.”

The CJ Mock Trial team will next take part in the Ohio Mock Trial High School Competition – conducted remotely – on Jan. 14.

“We competed online last year, and yes, it was challenging,” Marshall said. “Our students rose to the challenge though, as Will Riley and Myi Ferris won Best Witness Awards. Both of them are back this year – Will as an attorney and Myi as a witness. We are better prepared this year. We know what to expect and we have headsets, which will help a lot.”

--This story was published on January 12, 2022.