The Juvenile Justice Mock Trial Program has been serving students for since 1975. For over 40 years, it continues to be one of the most successful HBA programs, reaching more than 41,466 students over four decades, giving them the opportunity to learn about and participate in the judicial process. Eighth grade students develop and prepare a mock trial, create a crime scenario, assume all roles involved, and perform the trial at the end of a five week session; the trial is in an actual Harris County courtroom. Students from the University of Houston Law Center, South Texas College of Law, and Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and HBA staff work as a team and visit participating classes once each week for a five-week period, providing “hands-on” trial preparation. The support of the Harris County judiciary has been an integral part to the success of this program. They give up their courtrooms for several hours four Friday mornings each year. The judges in each court allow the student “judges” to wear their robes, and many take a few moments to speak with the students before or after their trials. Parents often attend the mock trials and many schools video the mock trials for later discussion. Because of its longevity, students who participated in the Mock Trial Program as eighth graders have even returned to work in the program as law students. There are judges on Harris County benches that assisted in the program while they were law students.
If your class is interested in participating, contact Ashley Gagnon Steininger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 759-1133.