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Competition concludes at finals

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

Following the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution mock congressional hearing state finals, which took place Dec. 12-13 for high school students and Dec. 14 for middle school students, organizers announced that a team from Munster High School will represent Indiana at the national competition held in Washington, D.C., in April 2011.

A team from Munster High School also won the Indiana competition in December 2009, and that team placed eighth in the nation in 2010. Since the program moved to the Indiana Bar Foundation, the winner of the Indiana finals has placed in the top 10 during five of the last six years.

Prior to learning the winner on Dec. 13, students witnessed about 40 immigrants from 22 different countries become U.S. citizens. U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney officiated at Union Station in Indianapolis, where the competition took place. This was the first year a naturalization ceremony was included in the closing ceremony for the high school competition.

During the mock congressional hearings, teams play the role of expert witnesses on topics that are based on six units of study. Panels of judges, often including lawyers and other members of the legal community, play the part of congressional representatives and score the students on a variety of factors.

Congress will fund the We the People curriculum for any school that would like to participate. For the last few years, the IBF budgeted for three dedicated staff members to help teachers and volunteers as needed, as well as organize institutes about the program for new and returning teachers and help with competitions on the local and state level.

Earlier this year, the IBF announced it would restructure its We the People program to comprise one dedicated IBF staff member with assistance from other staff as needed. As a result, starting next year, volunteers will be expected to take on more responsibility, and the IBF staff will focus efforts more on experienced teachers as opposed to cultivating new teachers. The IBF is also seeking volunteers to prepare the Indiana team for the national competition and to work with schools in their congressional districts leading up to next year’s regional and state finals.

In related news, Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Paul D. Mathias received the Indiana Bar Foundation’s William G. Baker Award Dec. 12 for his work with the We the People program at the state level and in the 3rd Congressional District in Northeast Indiana. He started working with We the People when it began in 1987 and annually recruits volunteer attorneys and civic leaders to serve as judges for the 3rd Congressional District competition.
 

Rehearing "We the People team 8th in nation" IL May 12-25-2010

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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