Criminal Mock Trials

This resource gathers together a list of mock trial materials:  documents that can serve as the mock trial transcripts for high school (and college) students.  The documents are in-depth and provide the stipulated facts, charges, pertinent criminal codes, related case law, witnesses statements, questions for witnesses as recommended by rules of evidence and related facts (for example, one case on hazing includes a table of blood alcohol levels by body weight and number of drinks consumed). 

The list of possible mock trials includes a wide variety of cases, each of which helps students apply core legal concepts to different scenarios.  The mock trials are of cases that high school and college students would find both timely and compelling, including criminal hazing, assault, felony rape and domestic abuse.

 

How do you use it?


The mock trials materials, gathered into 40-page or so documents are best used as intended — in high school or college classrooms for students participating in mock trial teams.  They are targeted to an older audience that already has gathered and learned information on criminal trials and how they work.  The content is not necessarily difficult, there is just a lot of information and some legal background is involved. 

Judges will likely want to use these mock trial resources in conjunction with a school that is intending to mount a mock trial.  A judge could work with a school to mount the trial in the courtroom, with the judge presiding.  Judges could use the materials to help assign students to different roles and oversee their application of the materials.

Caution:  
The description of each mock trial is only cursorily explained on the primary page that lists each of them, making it a bit time-consuming for a judge — or a student — to navigate through the webpage to select a particular mock trial case.

The actual information for each mock trial can be overwhelming at first glance for high school students. The inclusion of criminal codes and related facts add to each case's complexity because the average student reader may not know how to apply these to the case.  Judges could add particular valued in explaining the case law to a mock trial team.



Who is the audience?

These mock trials are geared towards use in older high school and college classrooms.



What other resources will complement this?

  1. A Conversation on the Constitution: Jury Service  Videos and lesson plan from the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (M, H, A)
  2. Civil Mock Trials  Case study/mock trial from Street Law (H, A)
  3. Considering the Constitution  Document from Scholastic (P, M, H) 
  4. Court Shorts: Jury Service  Video from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (M, H, A)
  5. Deciding by Group: You Are the Jury  Document from Scholastic (P, M, H)  
  6. Juror Selection  Document from Scholastic (M, H) 
  7. Pathways to the Bench  Videos from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (H)
  8. Quiz #3: Civil Cases  Lesson Plan from the Federal Judicial Center (M, H, A)
  9. Quiz #4: Criminal Cases  Lesson Plan from the Federal Judicial Center (M, H, A)
  10. Texting While Driving  Case study/mock trial from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (H, A)
  11. Trial Court 'Go Fish'  Game from iCivics (P, M)

Additional Recommended Resources Off-Site Links

  1. A Constitutional Timeline
    • Multi-aged audience timeline that highlights key dates in history of Constitution, with links to text, audio and video clips. From National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site. 
  2. Interactive Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that enables users to search Constitution by keyword or topic, with access to explanatory materials throughout. From National Constitution Center.   
  3. The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that lists the text of each section of every article in the Constitution, and provides explanation of what the text means in plain language.  From the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics. 
  4. Understanding the Federal Courts
    • Multi-aged online textbook-type document that includes sections on Article III, the Federal Court system and the geographical boundaries of the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts, the code of conduct for judges, juror qualifications, exemptions and terms of service, as well as categories of bankruptcy cases.  From the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.
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