Last week, lawyering took on a fresh new face when teams from around the region converged on Batavia to participate in the district mock trial competition. Winning the district meet was St. Xavier High School, which will advance with Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington, Batavia, Eastern Brown and Reading high schools to the regional competition, which will also be held in Batavia. That competition will be on Feb. 23.
According to a press release from the office of Judge Jerry McBride, the teams, which represented about a dozen schools in the region, argued a fictional case concerning the right of government to take property through eminent domain for the purpose of economic revitalization.
The debate concerning the U.S. Constitution’s fifth amendment boiled down to a city’s bid to take a resident’s home to give to a private developer to build a mixed-use development for urban revitalization. The case was designed to raise issues of a state’s constitution ability to provide additional rights and protection to individuals. The competition helps students to improve critical thinking skills by addressing an argument from two different sides and also fosters an interest in citizenship and participation in democracy.
Local best witness winners include: Eric Foertsch of Batavia, Emma Keough of Clermont Northeastern, Allie Robinson of Batavia, Joelle Siebert of Clermont Northeastern and Chris Werle of New Richmond.
Best attorney awards were given locally to: Matt Kelly of New Richmond who won two of the awards, as well as Derek Addis of Clermont Northeastern, Rachel Bowling of Batavia, Jamie Dawson of Batavia, Robert Rein of Clermont Northeastern and Jason Strine of Batavia.
The local district competition is sponsored by the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas and municipal courts. The Clermont Bar Association supported the mock trial competition through providing free lunches for all of the participants and plaques to the top five teams.
The mock trial competition is conducted by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education. The mock trial competition originally began in 1983 with 28 teams statewide. This year, more than 350 teams competed in the state in 35 locations.