Spending the day with Justice Korsmo and 40 teens

Let’s face it, I live in a pretty small town.   To have Justice Korsmo drive up three hours from the court of appeals to judge our Mock Trial Competition is a pretty big deal.    I wondered how it would be to have an appellate judge sitting in a trial court, but Kevin Korsmo is a natural.   He is also pretty good working with kids, and the teachers agreed.

Justice Korsmo accepts his certificate of appreciation

Justice Korsmo accepts his certificate of appreciation

Justice Korsmo presided over the battle between the senior classes of Republic High School and Curlew High School.   Each side had the chance to present the prosecution case, and the defense case in a hypothetical case of People v. Terry Bell.   Terry Bell was charged with arson and incitement, but was acquitted each time by a jury of grade schoolers.  I coached the Republic High School team, and our elected prosecutor Mike Sandona coached the Curlew High School team.

Mike Sandona works the crowd.  These highschool seniors wll be the voters ini his 2010 re-election bid.

Mike Sandona works the crowd. These high school seniors will be eligible voters when he faces re-election next year.

Coaching a mock trial team is just about the only volunteer activity I do, and I have done it since 1997.    In a good year you can get the kids as competitively charged as they would be in a basketball game against their rival.   This year, both schools had their fair share of over-achievers, and I am always impressed at the number of local graduates who go off to top schools, many with scholarships.   But in addition sometimes the competition makes stars of kids who are not academically inclined.   In the end, what often prevails is a combative spirit.   I usually end up getting to know some of these mock trial champs pretty well.   Every so often there will be a kid who already wants to be a lawyer.   Occasionally there will be a kid of such precocity, that I will already imagine them kicking my butt in court in seven short years.

(Note: I will be posting some pictures of a couple of the student lawyers as soon as I can get their permission.)

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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