A group of Greenbrier Middle School pupils acted as the jury during a mock trial that was staged by a group of people from Fort Gordon. The pupils in the front row are: Lyndsay Yates (from left), Emma Segeleon, Forrest Balk, Brandi Slater and Katrina Shultz.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Alex Brandon, 12, wants to be a lawyer one day.
On Friday, she got a taste of how the court system works as a member of a 14-member jury in her sixth-grade social studies class at Greenbrier Middle School.
"It was like being a detective," Alex said after the jury deliberated a verdict in a mock trial put on for students in honor of Law Day by Fort Gordon Judge Advocate General officers and cadets of the fort's Youth Challenge Academy.
The mock trial was put on several area schools, each with a different scenario, for the Jury Appreciation Law Day, which the American Bar Association says can be celebrated any day in May.
The sixth-grade jury listened to evidence through witness testimony and spent less than five minutes to reach unanimous verdicts on two charges - assault and reckless driving - for a fictitious defendant.
"They were on the edge of their seat," sixth-grade social studies teacher Becky Holley said. "They are very analytical. ... It was unanimous both ways."
Alex hopes to join her law family. Her sister is in law school, her mother will be and her brother hopes to enter law school, too. Alex said the jury experience gave her a much better idea of how the jury system works.
"It was so real," she said.
Army JAG lawyer Capt. Michael Waddington, who played judge in the trial, told the pupils that many of them will one day become prosecutors, defense attorneys and even judges and that the experience of serving on a jury will help prepare them.
"Hopefully none of you will end up in the defendant's chair," Waddington said. "But if you do, you should have some confidence that the jury system is probably the fairest system you could have as far as determining punishment, innocence or guilt."
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