On Tuesday, February 4th, some smart,
hard-working high school juniors were treated to quite an interesting day. As
members of the Bay Chamber of Commerce Junior Leadership Bay program, these
students spend time in the real world with business and community leaders,
being exposed to many valuable career options right here in their hometown.
February 4th was Law Day, so the students spent it meeting with representatives from all forms of Bay County law enforcement, from police officers to jail officials to lawyers and judges. The culmination of the day was participation in a mock trial held at the Bay County courthouse, sponsored and conducted by Manuel & Thompson Law Firm. The mock trial included real attorneys, a real judge, even a real bailiff.
Students played the roles of defendant, witnesses and jurors. Two lawyers from Manuel & Thompson, Zachary Taylor and Colin McMichen, each played a role in the trial, McMichen acting as the plaintiff’s attorney, and Taylor representing the defense.
The “case” went like this: A young woman crossing the road was killed when she was hit by the vehicle of a local building contractor, and her family was suing for damages. “We intentionally created the scenario for the mock trial to not be lopsided either way”, said Manuel & Thompson attorney Zach Taylor. “We wanted the students to really have to wrestle with issues faced by real jurors.”
The mock trial was quite realistic, with lawyers making
arguments, calling witnesses, even objecting to the statements of each other
and either being sustained or overruled by judge Joe Grammer.
Law Day was a great success, and the students of Junior Leadership Bay gained valuable insight into the legal field in Bay County. Who knows, there might have been some future law enforcement leaders in the group. By the way, the “jurors” found in favor of the defendant.