MVS attorney helps kids in court

On March 1, 2 and 4, dozens of local teenagers will be excused from class to head to court. However, these youths are not under suspicion. In fact, they will become defenders and litigators. Working in teams of four attorneys, three witnesses and a time keeper, students from various high schools will try a murder case through the Iowa State Bar Association's (ISBA) Mock Trial Program.Coached by professional attorneys, the students will present arguments, cross examine, and attempt to persuade three judges to award them a favorable decision. However, the trial winners are not necessarily the overall winners. \'The winning team is chosen based on the students' oral presentation; their basic questions in direct examination and cross examination; how they carried out objections, and how their team members performed as the witnesses...\' says R. Scott Johnson, an Iowa lawyer and third-year coach for Urbandale High School. \'There is a tremendous amount of time involved preparing for the Mock Trial,\' Johnson says. \'A lot of kids are involved in many other extra-curricular activities, some have jobs and then they still have to study, but we try to meet twice a week for a couple of hours. \'We work on things like establishing a theme for the trial, how to make objections, how to ask questions,\' Johnson says. \'The practice sessions are very interactive because the kids do everything. They review the case, write their own questions, and as coaches, we provide guidance.\' Johnson says participation in the Mock Trial Program benefits both parties involved. \'Hopefully, it gives the kids a sense of confidence, of what it's like to speak in public. They learn about how the legal system works, and become familiar with the adversarial process used in the parctice of law,\' he says.Johnson adds, \'I enjoy it because I enjoy teaching kids about the legal process and it's really neat to see them progress from start to finish and year to year.\' For more information about the ISBA Mock Trial program, log on to :ISBA Mock Trial Website, or call R. Scott Johnson at 288-3667 or e-mail Johnson here. Below is a list of teams and competition times. State finals will be held March 9.REGION #3March 1, Drake UniversityPlay-off: March 4Ankeny High SchoolDowling High SchoolIndianola High SchoolNorwalk High SchoolPerry High SchoolSoutheast Polk High SchoolUrbandale High SchoolValley High SchoolREGION #3AMarch 2, Drake UniversityPlay-off: March 4Adel-DeSoto-Minburn High SchoolHoover High SchoolJohnston High SchoolLincoln High School North High SchoolSoutheast Polk High School Roosevelt High SchoolValley Southwoods SchoolWaukee High School


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