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Nov. 22, 2006

High School Students to Witness Mock Trial Dec. 1

More than 100 students from high schools across Oswego County will gather at the Oswego County Courthouse on East Oneida Street in Oswego Dec. 1 to kick off the local high school mock trial competition.

Teams from each of the county's nine high schools have been invited to participate in the competition, which is part of the New York State Bar Association's Law, Youth and Citizenship Program. The county level event is sponsored by the Oswego County Bar Association with support from the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Oswego County BOCES and participating school districts.

On Dec. 1 the students will observe a mock murder trial presented by a team of six students from the Syracuse University College of Law. The local high school students will spend the next few months preparing for the county level preliminary trials that will take place in February and March. The winning team from Oswego County will advance to the regional competition.

Teams made up of eight or more students will be paired with volunteer legal mentors from the Oswego County Bar Association. Students will plan their own case based on guidelines provided by the New York State Bar Association.

“The purpose of the competition is twofold,” said Thomas Benedetto, first vice president of the Oswego County Bar Association and coordinator of the local tournament.

“The first is to teach students the principles of basic trial skills. The second, and most important, is to teach critical thinking skills, public speaking, and professionalism. Ethics, civility, and how to be a zealous but courteous advocate for their clients is a central focus at the competitions.”

Dianna Benson, instructor of the New Vision Law and Government Program at Oswego County BOCES, is assisting in the tournament's organization.


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