2001 Mock Trial Results

Clinton High wins 2001 Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition

More than 200 high school students converged on Nashville for the 22nd annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition on March 16-17. The Competition, hosted each year by the Young Lawyers Division of the Tennessee Bar Association, featured the eighteen best teams from high schools across the state, each vying for a state title and a spot in the National High School Mock Trial Competition later this year.

The Competition involves a series of abbreviated mock trials in which one team prosecutes a hypothetical case and the opposing team defends the case. Each team is comprised of six to twelve students, who are coached by actual attorneys who volunteer their time. The students play the roles of the attorneys and witnesses on their side of each trial. Each team must also be prepared to present both the prosecution and defense positions over the course of the Competition.

The hypothetical case created specifically for the Competition each year is structured not only to raise interesting and compelling legal and factual issues, but also to raise awareness about issues relevant to teen life. Past mock trial cases have involved issues of alcohol and drug abuse, teen suicide, mental illness, and the rights of AIDS victims.

This year’s case – which involved a charge of involuntary manslaughter -- was no exception. The charge arose out of the death of a college freshman from alleged hazing activities during "Entry Night" for a Student Social Organization (similar to a fraternity or sorority) on the campus of the fictitious Metropolitan University.

Based on scores received during in the initial four rounds, the top two teams are chosen to compete against each other in the final championship trial. The Honorable Patricia J. Cottrell of the Tennessee Court of Appeals for the Middle Section of Tennessee presided over the final trial this year.

The eighteen teams in the Competition represented the top teams from fourteen district competitions around the state. In this year’s final round, perennial powerhouse Clinton High School (Clinton) defeated Houston High School (Memphis) in a rematch of last year’s final round. The win by Clinton gave the school its third consecutive state championship. Clinton will now join forty other teams from across the country at the 2001 National High School Mock Trial Competition in Omaha, Nebraska on May 10-13. The Young Lawyers Division of the Tennessee Bar Association hosted the National Championships in Nashville in 1997.

The third and fourth place teams in the Competition were Franklin High School (Franklin) and St. Mary’s School (Memphis), respectively. Individual honors went to Chris Kidd of Greeneville High School as the overall best witness, and to Harrison Ford of Memphis University School as the overall best attorney.

Over 120 actual judges and attorneys from across the state volunteered their time as presiding judges, jurors and bailiffs in the Competition. The Young Lawyers Division sincerely appreciates the time and effort of each of these individuals, without which the Competition could not take place. Special thanks also goes to Document Solutions of Nashville, Inc. and The Kroger Co. for their supporting sponsorships of this important event.
Scott Sims