CHARLESTON – Registration for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia’s 2017-2018 West Virginia Law Adventure is now open for middle and high school students.

The mock trial program, which started in 2008, is open to students from all of the state’s 55 counties.

Winners are able to meet Chief Justice Allen Loughry.
Winners are able to meet Chief Justice Allen Loughry. | http://www.courtswv.gov/supreme-court/current-justices/justice-loughry.html

“This program is important because it allows us to teach the next generation of students about the judicial branch,” Chief Justice Allen Loughry told The West Virginia Record in an email. “It is my belief that the judicial branch is the least-understood branch of government, yet the foundation of our democracy depends on citizens’ respect for and belief in the Rule of Law.”

In order to apply, students write a mock case script including opening statements, testimony, use of evidence, closing arguments and jury instructions. Students may work together on scripts and teachers can decide whether to make it an in-class project or a before or after-school elective.

“The program encourages creativity and inclusivity,” a press release on the event said. “Because it is a writing-intensive project, it is well suited for use in English classes, but certainly is appropriate for social studies and civics classes.”

The script must be performed before a local magistrate, family court judge or circuit judge by March 15, 2018. All entries are due by April 1, 2018.

The entries will be judged by lawyers and winners will be chosen from each grade level and one winner will be chosen from combined middle school classes as well as one from combined high school classes.

Winners will take a trip to to the Supreme Court Chamber at the State Capitol in Charleston where they will meet Loughry and receive their awards.

“I am hopeful students and teachers take advantage of this program,” Loughry said. “Students and teachers who have participated in the past have been enthusiastic and excited about the program. Many students have even told me that participating in West Virginia Law Adventure made them decide that they want to become a lawyer or a judge. My hope is that we are able to inspire our leaders of tomorrow.” 

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