High School Mock Trial participants explore veterans’ issues in 2009 case

Issue December/January 2008

During the week of Nov. 3, members of the Mock Trial Committee conducted five teacher orientation sessions across Massachusetts in preparation for the 2009 High School Mock Trial Tournament.

This year, teams will focus on the first degree murder trial of a recently returned veteran of the war in Iraq, who raises Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as an insanity defense. The case focuses on whether the defendant is actually suffering from PTSD and whether PTSD may be a complete or partial defense.

This case gives participants an opportunity not only to learn about a serious mental health issue affecting many returning veterans, but also to think about whether the legal system adequately addresses this issue.

Now entering its 24th season, the tournament — which is sponsored by the Boston law firm of Brown, Rudnick, Berlack and Israels LLP — will place students from more than 115 Massachusetts high schools in courtrooms across the state to play the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a hypothetical case.

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