Law Day mock trial held
STEUBENVILLE – No one knows who won the 2013 Law Day mock trial Friday morning but students from Steubenville High School, the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and Buckeye Local High School used their debate skills to argue two cases in the Jefferson County Justice Center.
The mock trial judges stopped issuing a court ruling two or three years ago.
But students from the three schools learned the protocol of a courtroom environment and may have taken a step toward a legal career during the two trials.
During the first trial, attorneys Eric Reske, William Galloway and Casimir Adulewicz served as a three-judge panel and listened to arguments and testimony from the students who debated if a high school sophomore was denied his constitutional rights during a seven-hour interrogation by the police.
The suspect was charged with murder and arson after he made a statement claiming responsibility for setting a fire that killed a man.
“No Miranda rights were needed prior to the defendant’s confession. Dakota Allan was provided with lunch and a restroom break. His cell phone was never taken away and he could have called his father at any time. His confession was voluntary,” declared JVS student Adam Gallagher during his closing arguments.
But Allie Zimish of Steubenville High School, who was a defense attorney during the mock trial, said Allan, “was held in custody for more than seven hours and his confession was coerced and involuntary.”
“Dakota Allan was shackled with pain and cuffed in fear,” Zimish added during her closing arguments.
Alexandra Kilonsky also served as a defense attorney, while Cody Shanley was a co-counsel for the prosecution.
“I asked for my medication but the detective laughed at me. The detective seemed very annoyed while he drove me around and he drove really fast. I was nervous and afraid and I felt like I was going to be sick. I asked to be taken home. I didn’t think it would ever end. After I finally confessed, I was taken to the jail and my father arrived with my medication. After I took my medication I returned to the jail with my lawyer and told them I didn’t do the crime,” testified Allan.
Both sides called two witnesses to testify during the trial including Allan, who was portrayed by DeSha Pendergrast.
Following the hour-long mock trial Reske cited, “a good job by both sides.”
“The state gave a great opening statement and the I liked the constant eye contact by the defense attorneys and you laid out the facts first which is good,” said Reske.
“I have been involved with the mock trial events for the past 30 years and I commend both sides. Everyone did a very nice job today,” said Adulewicz.
Cherie Metcalf has been coaching the mock trial teams from Steubenville High School for the past 16 years.
“This is a valuable learning experience for our students. Some of our students who participated in the mock trials in past years have gone on to become attorneys and we have a couple of former students who are now taking pre-law classes,” said Metcalf.
“This also teaches the students an appreciation of the legal process and a better understanding of court proceedings,” she added.
Jamie Wells of JVS called the mock trial, “a fabulous experience for our students.”
“We have a two-year criminal justice class at JVS and the mock trial gives the student actual courtroom experience. I appreciate this opportunity every year,” declared Wells.
The second trial Friday morning saw Steubenville High School take the prosecution side of a case while Buckeye Local High School students were on the defensive side of the room.
Adulewicz served as a judge for the second trial with retired Common Pleas Court Judge John J. Mascio and Jefferson County Court Judge Michael Bednar.