Ohio Mock Trial students make their case in virtual courtrooms


Staff report



The Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, South Webster, and Wheelersburg Teams will all advance to Regional Mock Trial Competition to be held on February 18.

The Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, South Webster, and Wheelersburg Teams will all advance to Regional Mock Trial Competition to be held on February 18.


SCIOTO — Over the course of four days, more than 1,800 high school students representing 135 schools from across Ohio competed in the first round of the 39th Annual Ohio Mock Trial Competition, hosted in virtual format by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE).

Locally, the following districts had teams that participated in the virtual District Mock Trial event: Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, South Webster, Valley, and Wheelersburg High Schools. Of those teams, the Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, South Webster, and Wheelersburg Teams will all advance to Regional Mock Trial Competition to be held on February 18. Sharee Price, Gifted Services Coordinator at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, assisted in facilitating the virtual District Mock Trial and will also assist with the Regional Mock Trial Competition.

The 2022 Ohio Mock Trial case focuses on the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In short, this clause protects citizens from having their property seized by the government without just compensation. When exactly does a regulation go too far? Does the government always have to compensate individuals for their property if it is heavily regulated? Hollis Fitzpatrick was the owner of a family restaurant, Fitzpatrick’s, in the fictitious State of Buckeye. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Buckeye in 2020, Fitzpatrick’s struggled financially and ultimately shut down. Hollis blames the government restrictions for the restaurant closure and is taking legal action to be compensated for their loss. Students were asked to consider whether the pandemic restrictions were so severe that they constituted a taking of Hollis Fitzpatrick’s property that requires just compensation.

OCLRE Mock Trial Program Coordinator, Danielle Wilmot, explains that this year’s case, inspired by real world events, has students examine a lesser-known aspect of the law and its implications. “This year provided a unique opportunity to use the ongoing pandemic to contextualize a more obscure part of the Constitution. The Takings Clause, while lesser known, outlines an important protection for citizens and this year’s mock trial case allows students to see how it can impact real life.”

Ohio Mock Trial is a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) and is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition. More than 1,000 legal professionals volunteer to serve as judges, competition coordinators and team advisors. Each year, OCLRE writes an original case based on a relevant constitutional issue. Students must prepare arguments for both plaintiff and defense. Mock Trial is designed to educate students about the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Students also develop critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking and listening skills.

The state finals will be held March 10-12. The 2022 State Champion will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship, hosted virtually by the Michigan Center for Civic Education in Kalamazoo, MI, May 5-7.

The Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, South Webster, and Wheelersburg Teams will all advance to Regional Mock Trial Competition to be held on February 18.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/02/web1_Wheelersburg-Mock-Trial-Team13-1.jpgThe Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, South Webster, and Wheelersburg Teams will all advance to Regional Mock Trial Competition to be held on February 18.

Staff report