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High schools join mock-trial contest

Students from five area high schools will try their hand at litigation Saturday during a mock trial in courtrooms 201, 202 and 203 of the Jackson County Justice Building, 100 South Oakdale Ave., Medford.

They are competing to represent the Medford/Grants Pass region at the 23rd annual High School Mock Trial Competition. Participating schools include Ashland High, Brookings-Harbor High, Grants Pass High, Hidden Valley High and St. Mary's.

Students will try the case of Simon v. Swift and Eastside High School. It is a fictional case in which a student athlete dies because of steroid use and the coach and school are being sued. Students assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses. The participants know only moments before their trial is to begin whether they will be arguing for the plaintiff or the defense.

Each team will argue the case three times throughout the course of the day. Two teams will advance to the state finals, to be held on March 13-14 in Portland. The winning state team will travel to Atlanta in May to represent Oregon at the national championship.

The local competition is being sponsored by the Classroom Law Project and the Oregon State Bar. Additional financial support has been donated by the Jackson County Bar Association.

Each year, about 1,500 students across Oregon participate in the event, and some 500 attorneys and teachers volunteer their time to coach teams and judge the competition.

There will be a brief student orientation at 8 a.m. in the Jury Assembly Room of the Justice Building. This will be followed by three sessions: 8 to 10 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Immediately following the final session, there will be an awards ceremony in the Jury Assembly Room.