Attorney Greg Snell recently served as the judge for the St. James Episcopal School 8th grade mock trial. The trial is part of their social studies class taught by Ms. Mia James. The students were split into two groups and tried two criminal cases in a courtroom at the Justice Center in Daytona Beach. They assumed the roles of lawyers, defendants and witnesses and performed all aspects of what would normally be included in a real trial, such as opening statements, examining and cross examining witnesses and closing arguments. Mr. Snell ruled on objections and evidentiary issues. 7th grade students from St. James served as the jurors and deliberated and reached verdicts in both cases. This was the fourth year that he served as the judge for St. James. Next year the 7th graders will get their chance to try a case!
According to Mr. Snell "[T]his is a great learning experience for the students. By actively participating in a trial they learn so much more than they would by being taught in a standard passive manner. The family of the students who observe the trials are always impressed by what they can do even as 8th graders. Undoubtedly some fine future attorneys are getting their start through these trials. It's my pleasure to portray our system of justice in a positive manner to these young people. By better understanding of the judicial system greater respect for it, and the attorneys who work within it, is achieved."