St. Mary's Repeats as State High School Mock Trial Champion

Will represent state at National Mock Trial Competition

NASHVILLE, March 15, 2008 — St. Mary's Episcopal School from Memphis scored a final round victory over Brentwood High School to win a second-straight title in the Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition in Nashville. The team will now represent Tennessee in national competition, May 8-10 in Wilmington, Del.

Hume-Fogg Academic High School in Nashville earned third place in the 28th annual competition, while Family Christian Academy's Red team earned fourth place (see complete standing below).

Sixteen high school teams from across Tennessee put their legal skills to the test during the Tennessee Bar Association's annual State High School Mock Trial Competition. About 200 students and 200 volunteers – mostly, judges, lawyers and law students – gave their time and expertise. Sitting judges in the state presided over each round, with Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch Jr. presiding over the championship match.

To reach the state competition, teams had to win district competitions by playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a fictitious case developed by the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. This year, teams presented Sidney Young v. Riley Gardner, a civil case resulting from a car accident involving teenagers. The teenage driver was allegedly speeding and text messaging while driving a car filled with high school students. When the teen’s car skidded off the road and hit a telephone pole, the front seat passenger sustained significant injuries. As usual, the case presented quite a few twists and turns. Conflicting testimony shed doubt on whether it was the driver or the passenger who was "texting" at the time of the accident. Also, questions were raised about the roles that alcohol, road conditions, and a tire blowout may have played in the crash.

This year’s case is relevant to current events in the community as it highlights some of the difficulties that legislators and other community leaders face when trying to create ordinances prohibiting texting while driving. The case materials include a sample statute on texting while driving that was adopted from another state’s proposed legislation on the subject. While Tennessee has no current law prohibiting texting while driving, community leaders and lawmakers have routinely expressed interest in curbing the growing risk of cell phone usage on the roads.

Complete Standings

1. St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis
      Attorney Coach: Jennifer Nichols, U.S. Postal Service

2. Brentwood High School, Brentwood
      Attorney Coach: None

3. Hume-Fogg Academic High School, Nashville
      Attorney Coach: Ken King, Hume-Fogg

4. Family Christian Academy Red, Chattanooga
      Attorney Coaches: Jeffrey M. Atherton Sr., Burnette,       

      Dobson & Pinchak; Nathaniel Goggans, Chambliss Bahner & Stophel

5. Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville
      Attorney Coach: Wade Cowan

6. Memphis University School, Memphis
      Attorney Coaches: S. Newton Anderson, Spicer, Flynn &

      Rudstrom; James Robinson Jr.; Lynn Thompson,

      Apperson, Crump & Maxwell

7. West High School, Knoxville
      Attorney Coach: Albert Harb, Hodges, Doughty & Carson

8. Jefferson County High School, Dandridge
      Attorney Coach: Judge Ben Strand, Jefferson County  

      General Sessions Court

9. Family Christian Academy Blue, Chattanooga
      Attorney Coaches: Jeffrey M. Atherton Sr., Burnette,       

      Dobson & Pinchak; Nathaniel Goggans, Chambliss Bahner & Stophel

10. South Greene High School, Greeneville
      Attorney Coach: Guy Blackwell, U.S. Department of Justice

11. Springfield High School, Springfield
      Attorney Coach: Lisa Richter, 19th Judicial District Child 

      Support Referee

12. Tullahoma High School, Tullahoma
      Attorney Coaches: Russell Hedges, Moore & Hedges;

      William Rieder, Haynes, Hull, Rieder, Ewell & Ridner

13. Clarksville High School, Clarksville
      Attorney Coach: Christopher Barber, Kennedy Law Firm

14. Dobbyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport
      Attorney Coach: Jeff Miles, Pectol & Miles

15. Dyersburg High School, Dyersburg
      Attorney Coaches: Carla Marie Christian; Matthew Willis, 

      Ashley Ashley & Arnold

16. Warren County High School, McMinnville
      Attorney Coach: Tom Miner

Team Most Valuable Players

Brentwood High School - Becca Richardson
Clarksville High School - Sara Rouse
Dobbyns-Bennett High School - Theresa Helmer
Dyersburg High School - Victoria Jowers
Family Christian Academy Blue - Micah Till
Family Christian Academy Red - Kyle Johnson
Hume-Fogg Academic High School - Gillian Brassil
Jefferson County High School - Kayla Hughes
Memphis University School - Peter Travis
Montgomery Bell Academy - Max Webster
St. Mary's Episcopal School - Lane Feler
South Greene High School - Arianna Ingram
Springfield High School - Suzanne Carr
Tullahoma High School - Chandler Lawson
Warren County High School - Angela Marcum
West High School - Noelle Harb


Brentwood High School was runnerup in the competition.

Amanda Swanson of West High School in Knoxville (left) receives the Best Advocate for the Plaintiff award from TBA YLD Mock Trial Chair Colleen Sweeney.

C.J. Strode of Warren County High School in McMinnville (left) receives the Best Advocate for the Defense award from Sweeney.

Danyelle Dover of Family Christian Academy in Chattanooga (right) receives the Best Witness for the Defense award from Sweeney.

Austin Beckford of the Memphis University School receives the Best Witness for the Plaintiff award from Sweeney.


          | TBA Law Blog

The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 13,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA’s dedication to serving the state’s legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.

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Stacey Shrader Joslin
Tennessee Bar Association
221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400
Nashville, TN 37219

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