OKEECHOBEE — Classical Conversation students from both Okeechobee and Hobe Sound participated in a mock trial on Monday, May 1, 2023.
Classical Conversation is a nation-wide method of homeschooling which helps parents to provide their children with a Christian classical education.
A mock trial is a competition in which students simulate an actual court case. The teams spend many hours preparing for the trial, pouring over documents and memorizing witness statements.
Judge William Wallace presided over the case and said he had been looking forward to it for days.
The students participating in the mock trial were all 8th graders. The trial actually took place twice as each team was given the opportunity to both prosecute and defend.
The Hobe Sound team consisted of Defense attorneys: Hannah Hineman and Dylan Davis, Prosecution Attorneys: Hannah Baldwin and Ricky Sabater, Witnesses: Hannah Hineman, Emerson Turnkin, Hannah Baldwin- (defendant)Tatum Zillias, Ricky Sabater- Micah Estratton (witness), Dylan Davis - London Packard, Hannah Baldwin- Reese Dentere Denter and Bailiff- Skyler Hineman.
The Okeechobee Team members were Prosecution Lilly Tumoszwicz- and Leo Boney, Payton Sweeney-bailiff, Randy Worth-London (witness) Brayleigh Stephen- Emerson (witness), Defense Lilly Tumoszwicz- Tatum (defendant) Leo Boney- Micah, Payton Sweeney- Reese (witness), Randy Worth- attorney Brayleigh Stephen- attorney and Bailiff- Payton Sweeney.
Tatum Sillias stands accused of causing the deaths of two people through negligence. She was the real-estate developer on a jobsite where a crane collapsed and killed the victims.
Sillias entered a not guilty plea to manslaughter.
During the first half of the event, the Okeechobee team served as defense, and Hobe Sound prosecuted. The trial was completed in about an hour, and the jury was sent out to deliberate.
The second half of the trial had the same cast of characters, but the Hobe Sound team acted as defense, and Okeechobee served as prosecution.
In both cases, the jury sided with the Okeechobee team, but the judge sided with the prosecution each time — Hobe Sound the first case and Okeechobee the second. Judge Wallace told the teens you just never know what the jurors hear and hang on to. He added this is why we have the judicial system we do, so a jury can decide. He said he was excited to have his own score card because he always wanted to be a juror and never had the opportunity.
Both groups want to send out a big thank you to everyone who made this opportunity possible for them.