Tulare County Mock Trial
Tulare County Office of Education along with the Tulare County Bar Association and Constitutional Rights Foundation sponsors the Mock Trial Program in Tulare County. Participating in the Mock Trial program is somewhat like being in a play. The student lives the part of the character during the trial. The difference is that no one has a set script. Students need to be good listeners and quick thinkers to respond in character.
Each team consists of nine to twenty high school students, with the help of a sponsoring teacher and a volunteer attorney coach. The team prepares and presents the trial from the perspectives of the prosecution and the defense. Roles for mock trial team members include trial attorneys, pretrial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, and bailiffs. Larger teams have separate students who play those roles as prosecution and defense. Some schools offer the Mock Trial Program as a class rather than an extra-curricular activity.
Students will develop listening, thinking and public speaking skills. Team cooperation and courtroom etiquette is also stressed. In addition, they learn about one of the most basic freedoms of life in the United States. The legal system is so important in the United States that it defines what we can do just as much as the laws that govern us. Everyone will eventually have experience in the legal system as a juror, judge, attorney, court reporter, court clerk, bailiff, witness, family member or defendant. This in-depth program allows students to develop an expertise and comfort with the judicial system.