Sidney Central
School District
Sidney class participates in mock trial
Sidney High seniors participating in the Government and Law course produced a mock trial in the high school auditorium. The class puts on the trial nearly each year and the class takes part in all aspects of a courtroom trial. 

The trial was about Ryan Strongarm, the plaintiff, who presented a $100 million lawsuit of negligence against Chris Rocket. 

Rocket, a high school senior, anticipated a bright future with an excellent academic record, and a full-ride athletic scholarship to a four-year college. He attended a senior party to celebrate the end of his senior year on the night in question. The same night, world champion and Olympic tri-athlete hopeful Strongarm was out for a midnight run. Strongarm was hit by a car and suffered a broken leg on that fateful night, but foggy road conditions led to doubt as to whether Rocket was responsible. Rocket reported his belief that he hit a deer, while a couple with a flat tire testified to seeing a car fitting the description of Rocket's car. 

The team for plaintiff  Strongarm consisted of lead lawyers J.P. Dewey, John Fink, and Ale Johnson; prep lawyers Jordyn Lang, Mariah Gifford, and Thomas Cartossa; and witnesses Jon Pineau, Caleb Hartwell, Justin Santiago, and James Dema.

The team for defendant Rocket consisted of lead lawyers Hannah Calkins, Matt Hoskins, and Blake Valles; prep lawyers Angelina Piccozi, Collin Searles, and David Gannon; and witnesses Tasha Leykamm, Andy Thompson, and Levi Green.

Sidney CSD’s SRO, Deputy Clarke served as the judge, and class instructor Lori DePauw facilitated the trial as the court bailiff and clerk. Twelve AP history students sat as the jury for the trial. 

The jury had to process three options: Rocket as 100 percent negligent and responsible; Rocket as not negligent at all; or determine whether this was a case of comparative negligence in which both Rocket and Strongarm shared a percentage of responsibility for the events that night. 

The jury arrived at the decision that there was comparative negligence, and Judge Clarke determined the percentage of negligence was 35 percent on Strongarm and 65 percent on Rocket. The final judgment in that Rocket would pay Strongarm $65 million to compensate for loss of future earnings, medical bills and suffering.

DePauw noted the Government and Law class did a remarkable job with all opening and closing speeches, completely memorized and effectively delivered; witnesses able to testify with memorized accurate details and effective character enactments, and lawyers employing accurate and effective application of objections, submission of evidence and appropriate lines of questions. 

“The entire class is to be commended on their hard work and dedication to this learning experience,” she said. 

For a gallery of photos, please see below. 
Sidney Central School District
95 West Main Street  |  Sidney, NY 13838  |   Phone: 607.563.2135  |   Fax: 607.563.2386
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