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What are we doing?

        Now that you have received your assigned case, and as a group have chosen your individual roles, it's time to get started on your speech or testimony.

        If you have drawn the card of lead attorney (whether prosecution or defense) you will be delivering the opening statements to the jury (me) and questioning the witnesses. If you are the secondary attorney, you will be delivering your teams closing arguments - in which (lest you think you got the "easy job") you will address the other sides case so that you can best rebut any arguments they have made. All attorneys are to dress appropriately to their role - business attire required.

        If you are one of the two witnesses for your side, you will be testifying as the lead attorney for your side questions you (unlike an actual court of law, there will be no cross-examination of you from the other sides attorney - they can question statements you made or facts you brought up in their closing arguments). You CANNOT make up facts that weren't in your novel. Your relationship to the character on trial or the victim must remain as it was written. But, you can interpret "hazy" facts - since many of these novels were told in "first-person" by a character not you, tell us what you really thought of a given situation, conversation, or action. You are to dress and act as your group interprets your character would have.

Play your part well, and the scales could tip in your favor!


Prosecuting Attorneys: Both the lead and secondary attorneys should visit the Monmouth County Prosecutors website. Specifically, this link will take you to a Kids FAQs (
frequently asked questions) page about the job of a prosecutor. Pay special attention to "What is a prosecution" and "Are some crimes more serious than others." The lead attorney should explain in the opening statement (using terms from "What is a prosecution") how this case why built and why the accused is being prosecuted. The secondary attorney should explain the degree of the crime and the possible sentence (as from "more serious than others") in thier closing.

Defense Attorneys: Both the lead and secondary attorneys should visit the Criminal Defense Law FAQs site. The link will take you to a page of FAQs 
(frequently asked questions) about criminal defense law. A series of terms, like "crime of passion" and "reasonable doubt" are defined here. I expect both the secondary and lead attorney to use two of these terms in their opening and closing arguments, and they CANNOT use the same terms.

Witnesses 1 & 2: First, visit this page on the Iowa Bar Website. It is entitled "So You're Going to be a Witness: Tips to Help You Prepare." On it, you will find a list of 8 Rules of being a good witness. It's not a long read, and very informative. I expect you to stick to these rules as you "testify" and will grade you down if you do not.

ALL GROUP MEMBERS: Lastly, before you being drawing up your speeches and testimony, everyone in your group should visit the Superior Court of California website. The link will take you to a page entitled "Getting Ready for a Trial, the Last 100 Days." Obviously, you have a week and not 100 days to prepare. However, read through the list which covers topics like pleadings, discovery, and expert witnesses. These terms will help you in your case and raise your grade if you use them correctly throughout your trial.

Back to: Back to the WebQuest!


Some pictures on this site provided by Philip Russell, PLC