District mock trial teams face each other in court

Last week, lawyering took on a fresh new face when teams from around the region converged on Batavia to participate in the district mock trial competition. Winning the district meet was St. Xavier High School, which will advance with Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington, Batavia, Eastern Brown and Reading high schools to the regional competition, which will also be held in Batavia. That competition will be on Feb. 23.

According to a press release from the office of Judge Jerry McBride, the teams, which represented about a dozen schools in the region, argued a fictional case concerning the right of government to take property through eminent domain for the purpose of economic revitalization.

The debate concerning the U.S. Constitution’s fifth amendment boiled down to a city’s bid to take a resident’s home to give to a private developer to build a mixed-use development for urban revitalization. The case was designed to raise issues of a state’s constitution ability to provide additional rights and protection to individuals. The competition helps students to improve critical thinking skills by addressing an argument from two different sides and also fosters an interest in citizenship and participation in democracy.