Six public and private schools have registered to compete in the 2013 high school mock trial contest, the initial rounds of which will begin today at the Guma Hustisia in Susupe.
This year's participants are student teams from the Dr. Rita Hocog Inos High School, Tinian High School, Saipan Southern High School, Marianas Baptist Academy, two teams from Marianas High School, and two teams from Mount Carmel School.
Organized by the CNMI Bar Association with the assistance of the Judiciary, the competition's first round will start today at 1pm, with the finals to occur tomorrow, March 8, at 3:30pm.
Mock trial is a scholastic competition among public and private schools throughout the CNMI. It was started in 1999 by the CNMI Bar Association and former justice Ramon Villagomez as a way to introduce high school students to the justice system.
During competition, students will portray the role of attorneys and witnesses and must present both sides of a fictional case as the plaintiff and defense. Participants will be judged based on their knowledge of the evidence and ability to present a logical and persuasive case. CNMI judges and attorneys will serve as presiding judges and jurors/evaluators for the competition.
Mount Carmel School was last year's big winner and will defend the title in the two-day contest. This year's champion team will fly to Indianapolis, Indiana in May to represent the CNMI at the national competition.
Each participating school receives a fictitious case file complete with witness statements, exhibits, rules of evidence, and an abbreviated law library. Teams comprising 6-10 students have spent months practicing with the assistance of their volunteer attorney and teacher coaches to prepare for the competition.
This year's case takes place in a fictional village of Maugville where the use of social media may have cost a police detective his/her job. Detective Robin E. Taro is suing police chief Bobbie Lemmai, claiming that he/she was fired from his/her job due to posts he/she made on a social networking site, in violation of his/her right to free speech.
Sponsors of the event include Fiesta Resort & Spa, Pacific Trading Co., IT&E, Docomo Pacific, XEROX Corp., Coca Cola Beverage Co., Hyatt Regency Saipan, Saipan World Resort, Saipan Ice & Water Co., Pacific Islands Club, Topnotch, Subway Restaurants, Mariana Resort & Spa, Joeten Charitable Foundation, Herman's Bakery, McDonald's of Saipan, National Office Supply, Northern Marianas Judiciary Historical Society, Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider, Sen. Pete P. Reyes (IR-Saipan), Rep. Richard B. Seman (R-Saipan), Commissioner of Education Rita A. Sablan, Ed.D., and the Public School System.