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posted: 2/20/2014 1:01 AM

High schools participate in 10th annual mock trial in Waukegan

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19th Circuit Court submission

Evanston, Highland Park and Libertyville high schools finished in the top three positions in the 10th annual high school mock trial invitational, officials announced.

The event was held Feb. 8 at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan. The Lake County Bar Foundation will award the winning school a $250 check to help defray some of the expenses associated with the school's mock trial program.

The event could be considered a practice session for some of the schools that plan to compete in the Illinois State Bar Association mock trial competition scheduled for March 8-9 at the University of Illinois Law School in Champaign.

The high schools participating in this year's invitational included Boylan Catholic, Carmel Catholic, Chicago Christian, Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, Libertyville, and St. Charles North.

The program was originally organized by Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti, with the assistance of then-assistant state's attorney and now Associate Judge Christen Bishop.

Rod Drobinski, an assistant state's attorney, joined the judges' team and acted as liaison to the high schools.

The mock trial event, held annually and usually in February, is a collaborative effort by the Lake County Law-Related Education Initiative, the Lake County Juvenile Officers Association, and the Lake County Bar Foundation.

This year's mock trial presentation was a fictional civil case based on the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast in 1938.

The case is titled Jersey Johnson v. Columbia Broadcasting System, in which the plaintiff, Jersey Johnson, alleges severe emotional distress brought on by what was believed to be a live broadcast of a Martian invasion.

In the trials, students took the roles of attorneys, victims, and witnesses. Lake County judges presided over the trials and the juries (evaluators) consisted of private practitioners, assistant state's attorneys and assistant public defenders.

The evaluators scored the students on their ability, presentation, and effectiveness.

After lunch, an awards ceremony took place in the jury assembly room. Rossetti named the top-scoring student performers for their roles as attorneys, victims, and witnesses and presented them with trophies.

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