Goshen High School wins Mock Trial tourney

Goshen proceeds to regional competition after besting Minisink Valley, Warwick Valley, and Highland Falls

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  • The Goshen High School Mock Trial team beat its county competitors, and now proceeds to the regional competition (Facebook photo)

  • The Mock Trial team from Goishen High School eliminated the team from Middletown High School during the opening round of the Orange-Ulster BOCES Mock Trial Tournament on April 7

— Goshen High School will move on to the Regional Mock Trial tournament after winning the semifinal competition and then the county finals.

Dr. Evelyn Schneider posted on Facebook Tuesday, after Goshen's victory: "Wow! Goshen does it again! It’s The People vs Carson Corners, a case against a 19-year-old senior at Bigtown High School. Some pushing, grabbing, physical redirecting, and disrespectful communication spin out into handcuffing Carson, a threat to his/her teacher’s state assessment score status, catapulting him/her out of standardized testing and into the courtroom. All this in the Goshen Government Center, replete with a black-robed judge, metal detector entrance, and a spectator group so quiet you could hear the breathing. Carson, a “she” in this performance, is my 10th grade student, Caitlin Hough (also in my newspaper club). My former student Jimmy Linderman cleans the plate with his no-notes, mesmerizing closing remarks. The real-life judge in this mock trial remarks that he has not witnessed a performance in his real-life courtroom experience to match this one by our students at the Orange-Ulster BOCES Mock Trial Tournament between Highland Falls and Goshen. On to the New York State Tournament, Goshen, and may the FORCE be with you."

New York State Mock Trial Tournament is an educational program designed to teach secondary students basic trial skills. Students learn how to conduct direct and cross examinations, how to present opening and closing statements, how to think on their feet, and learn the dynamics of a courtroom. On the state level, the program is sponsored by the New York State Bar Association. Locally, the program is sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association and coordinated by OU BOCES. Local judges, attorneys and legal professionals, and educators volunteer their time to preside over the mock courtrooms and assist with the program.

The Orange-Ulster BOCES Division of Instructional Support Services' Mock Trial Program began its 2018 multi-round competition on Saturday, April 7, with teams from Chester, Goshen, Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery, Marlboro, Middletown, Minisink Valley, Monroe-Woodbury, Newburgh, Pine Bush, Port Jervis, Valley Central, and Warwick.

High school teams faced off in "courtrooms" on the OU BOCES campus and argued their cases before Orange County judges.

'People v. Carson'For the 2018 tournament, the students argued “People v. Carson,” a fictitious criminal case in which a high school student was observed repeatedly pushing another student in the hallway and is ultimately charged with disorderly conduct.

The defense believes that the school has adopted a “school-to-prison pipeline” policy and practice, which results in “zero-tolerance” for even minor school infractions and in the prosecution of students in the juvenile and the adult criminal justice systems, rather than within the school disciplinary process.

At the end of trial rounds one and two on April 7, eight teams scored enough points to move on to the single-elimination tournament. The advancing teams were from Goshen, Minisink, Pine Bush, Middletown, Newburgh, Warwick, Monroe-Woodbury, and Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery.

Round two: April 14The four single-elimination trials between the advancing teams were held in the Carl P. Onken Conference Center and the Emanuel Axelrod Education Center at OU BOCES on Saturday, April 14. The four prevailing teams progressed to the semi-final trial held that afternoon. Goshen's Mock Trial won against Minisink Valley, then moved on to the semifinals against Warwick Valley.

The two semi-final winning teams, Goshen and Highland Falls, faced off in the OU BOCES Mock Trial Tournament final trial on Tuesday, April 17, in the Town of Goshen Courthouse. A brief awards ceremony followed the trial.

As the winner, Goshen will compete in the Regional Tournament in Poughkeepsie on April 28, and from there, have the opportunity to progress to the New York State Mock Trial Tournament to be held in Albany on May 15.

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