Chris Hanwell, account manager for Cady Reporting Services had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with the Cleveland Middle School Mock Trial Competition 2016. He was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his time for a short interview about his experience.
M: Can you give us an overall description of your day?
C: The day was great! All of the middle school kids did an excellent job presenting their cases. They were prepared and knew what they wanted to get across even at such a young age. As the presiding “judge”, I was there to keep the trial moving and to rule on any objections that were made based off of a small list of objections that the students were able to use. I didn’t rule on the outcome of the case, but rather I was there to provide a score based on overall performance and their ability to do things properly according to their rules.
M: What was the case about?
C: The case that I sat in on was based on the book and movie “The Outsiders”. The case was ultimately about the prosecution presenting their case against Pony Boy Curtis, a Greaser, trying to get him on a murder charge for killing one of the Socs (short for Socials). The Defense, of course, was saying that it was self-defense as the Socs were attempting to harm Pony Boy and his friend by drowning them in the fountain in the park.
M: Can you describe your interactions with the kids and their performances?
C: The students were all very polite and courteous. During the trial, they would address me as “Your Honor”, which I got a kick out of…especially since I’m not a judge. But even after the fact, students from both schools would approach me and ask how their team did as well as how I thought they individually did. The students did an excellent job in their roles as attorneys, witnesses as well as the bailiff. You could tell they put a lot of hard work in and they were prepared and ready to go.
M: What was your favorite part of the experience?
C: My favorite part of this experience was just seeing how hard the students prepared and then how hard they worked during the trial. There were a few student attorneys that used excellent questions to get the answer they were looking for when the witness didn’t at first provide it. That was pretty neat to see these young students actually performing as attorneys.
M: How do you feel that volunteering overall helps you and the community?
C: I love volunteering to assist with these types of events in connection with the CMBA. I also had the privilege of serving as an associate scoring judge on a recent High School mock trial and to be able to compare & contrast the two mock trials was very interesting. The CMBA does such a good job in sponsoring and promoting legal education within the schools that it’s great just to be able to play a small part in helping the students advance and hopefully achieving their future goals.
The competition took place at the Cleveland Municipal Courthouse in the courtroom of Judge Marilyn B. Cassidy. During her term of service on the Cleveland Municipal Court bench, Judge Cassidy is now in her second year of hearing a dedicated domestic violence docket which includes special prosecutors, dedicated detectives, and victim advocates. Judge Cassidy has also collaborated with US Marshal Peter Elliot on two projects: Fugitive Safe Surrender, a highly successful program that allows fugitives to voluntarily surrender in the safety of a church. Operation Second Chance addressed minor’s curfew offender’s, and was a collaborative program to identify youth in Cleveland’s Ward 4 who have potential learning disorders. The program screened the offending youth and provided follow up at the school, parenting workshops, and exposed youth to programs that are available at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
Article written by Michelle Cady-Cook. She is the Director of Marketing and part owner of Cady Reporting (a WBENC company). She is a sustaining member of the Cleveland Association of Paralegals, and is currently serving as Chair of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Green Initiative Committee and Chair of the Follow Up Committee for the National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC). She has been officially involved in the legal community for over 10 years. Within the framework of Cady Reporting Services, she partners with locally owned court reporting firms across the country to continually improve the practice of litigation.
Cady Reporting Services is located at 1468 W. 9th St. Cleveland, OH 44113. Our court reporters and videographers personally serve the state of Ohio, and we daily schedule court reporters and other litigation support services through our partners in the NNRC. The National Network of Reporting Companies is your personal connection to coverage wherever and whenever you need it.