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Students prepare for mock trial

| January 5, 2016

COSHOCTON – Josey Lillibridge has spent the last couple of months experiencing the life of an attorney.

“I want to be one when I get older and I thought doing the mock trial would help me see if I like it,” said the Ridgewood High School junior. “I’ve liked questioning people and looking them in the eyes and asking them why they did something.”

Lillibridge is one of several Coshocton County high school students who have been practicing for a mock trial since October 2015. The teens were given a fake case loosely based on the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland to present against other students on Saturday, Jan. 9 in Cincinnati and at a district event in Tuscarawas or Muskingum County on Friday, Jan. 29.

“It’s a fourth amendment case on the use of deadly force by law enforcement,” said Judge Robert Batchelor, who is helping coach the students.

This is the third year students in the county have participated in a mock trial.

“The first year we just competed locally,” Batchelor said. “The second year we went to districts in New Philadelphia and this year we are going to the University of Cincinnati before districts. It’s a great opportunity for the students to have before they go to districts so they can see a competition and meet other students from across the state.”

He and Judge Van Blanchard recruited students from the county’s high schools and about 22 volunteered to fill the roles of attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs and other positions in the mock trial.

“I’ve learned a lot about objections from this experience,” said Hayli Brown, a 10th grader at River View High School.                 “There is a bigger process to objections than you think. You can’t just shout it out like they do on TV shows.”

She would like to become a lawyer, but as Batchelor pointed out you can still learn from the mock trial experience even if you aren’t interested in a career in law.

“It’s a great intellectual exercise,” Batchelor said. “It helps them develop an understanding of the law and provides them with I think an incredible confidence in speaking skills. It’s also an opportunity to work with students from all over the county.”

He is thankful for everyone who helped provide the students with this experience, including the Coshocton Bar Association who is funding the group’s trip to Cincinnati and Jason Given and other local attorneys who have helped coach the students.

“It’s been great watching them all progress so quickly,” Batchelor said. “Last year they did a great job and they were all so excited at the end of the day. We had four of them return this year and next year I am sure we will have more.”

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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