The honorable David Mathis presided over the case with Deputy Cody Fabian (2015 graduate) with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department returning as Court Officer.
CJS students participate in a yearly mock trial where each student plays a part as either a lawyer or witness. The trials are written so that a verdict can be either "guilty" or "not guilty" depending on how a team prepares and presents their case. This is a two-day trial and both morning and afternoon program students participate during their respective times.
The simulation and role-playing experience exposes students to the “realism of American court procedures and processes.” It also allows students to discern hypothetical facts and practice trial skills. They develop public speaking and problem solving skills that greatly enhance their self confidence as well as learn teamwork, critical analysis, writing and beyond.
To continue the realism, a "real" judge presides over the trial; David Mathis - who generously returns year after year to work with the students. The jury is composed of students from other CTE programs who volunteer during jury selection.
In November, students gathered for “Discovery Day” where both the prosecution and defense teams in class presented their evidence to attorney Justin Myers, ESQ, a lawyer with Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP. Mr. Myers reviewed and shared with the opposing team the physical evidence each would be presented at the trial. He took the time to talk with each side answering pertinent questions and giving valuable advice to help them win their case.
The mock trial ended with the morning class jury deciding that all the defendants were “not guilty.” The afternoon class jury found Jumbo and Leroy “guilty” of robbery 1st degree and Murky “guilty” of robbery 2nd degree. Same case, different outcomes.
David Foldi, Criminal Justice Studies Instructor said, “all of the students did a fantastic job presenting their cases and I wish we could have gone another day with so much to deliberate. The verdict did not determine student grades; rather it was their preparation and presentation of their parts.” Foldi continued by saying Judge David Mathis and the jury were extremely impressed with this year’s trial. “Judge Mathis will be returning soon to debrief the students on the entire trial and to discuss their excellent work as well as answer questions.“