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Indiana gets positive verdict from mock trial visitors

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Two teams from the West swept the 2013 National High School Mock Trial Championship, but Indianapolis and the Indiana legal community made the best impression.

For the first time in the 30-year history of the mock trial competition, Indiana hosted the national finals. Forty-eight teams from across the country tried a case in four separate rounds May 10 and 11, which were held in the Marion County City County Building. The championship was held in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse.

“We had so many compliments,” Susan Roberts said, adding many called this the best organized and most smoothly run of all national mock trial competitions. “They were extremely impressed.”

Roberts, a Lafayette attorney, helped to coordinate the nearly three-year effort of planning and preparing for the national competition. She is president of  Indiana Mock Trial and serves as treasurer of the national mock trial board. She wrote the case, “The Wasp,” for the 2013 national championship. Indianapolis lawyer Ann Marie Waldron served as chair of the NHSMTC host planning committee.

The 2013 national mock trial champion was Albuquerque Academy from Albuquerque, N.M. This team was also crowned the champion in the 2012 national competition. Runner up was the team from La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Neither Indiana team placed in the top 10. The team from Adams High School in South Bend placed 19th, and Valparaiso High School finished 22nd.

During their stay in the Circle City, the visiting students, judges, attorneys, teachers and parents were treated to outings at museums and sporting venues around the city.

“People loved our city,” Roberts said. “It was overwhelming how many people came up to me and said, ‘This is a fantastic city. We’re going to come back.’”

At the end of the two days, the students were given a souvenir booklet that included letters written to the mock trial participants from such dignitaries as United States Chief Justice John Roberts, Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson and the deans of Indiana’s four law schools.

Also Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard issued a proclamation, making May 11 National High School Mock Trial Championship day in Indianapolis.

“To me it was very rewarding, and I was very happy,” Roberts said.
 

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