Eighth Graders Hand Down "Guilty Verdict" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/5/04 - Tyler

Eighth Graders Hand Down "Guilty Verdict"

It's the 10th year a mock trial has been put on by the Smith County Bar Association. It's used to teach area students how the court system works.

In Tyler today, a federal courtroom was filled with local 8th graders, a real-life judge, court reporter, lawyers, and other courtroom professionals. Eighty students from public and private schools participated in a sped-up trial. There were 12 student jurors, two alternates, and a couple of students were even called to the witness stand.

"I didn't expect to get picked to be up there," Kasey Kipp, an 8th grader at Hogg Middle School, who was chosen as a witness, said. "I wasn't even expecting that. My heart was racing, you know, moving really fast. But it was exciting. And it just shows not to do wrong stuff."

The program's goal was also to show the students possible careers in law.

The jury of 8th graders returned a guilty verdict for "Sam Sleuth," who was arrested right before their eyes for carrying a firearm into a federal building. In real life, Sleuth would have had to serve 27 months in prison and pay a $5,000 fine.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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