TACOMA, WA – Today, the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s (PCPAO) Diversity Committee hosted a mock trial for Upward Bound high school students. The mock trial was held in Judge Culpepper’s courtroom at the County-City Building. Volunteers from the PCPAO were actors in the recreation of a real criminal case where the incident was referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for charging, but was not charged due to proof problems.
In the mock trial, the case was charged and tried to a jury of 12 students. The students delivered a verdict of “not guilty.”
“With young leaders such as these students, Pierce County’s future looks good,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “In this case, the verdict was less important than the experience.”
While the students took their jury duty responsibilities seriously, there were moments that called for unanimous laughter. For example, after delivering her opening statement, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Christine Chin, was applauded for her performance. Judge Culpepper reminded everyone there is no clapping in the courtroom.
This experience gave students the opportunity to learn how the justice system operates in their community. In addition to a great learning opportunity, students had the chance to discuss the process and the justice system with local attorney and judges.
The students who participated in the mock trial represent the Upward Bound programs at Lincoln High School, Mt. Tahoma High School and Foss High School. Upward Bound provides fundamental support as participants prepare for college. The program offers opportunities for participants to succeed in their pre-college performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.
The PCPAO’s Diversity Committee’s THINK program was created to provide Pierce County students with an introduction to law, public policy, and community leadership, while creating opportunities to gain knowledge and skills in legal analysis.
Heather Songer, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office