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County Bar Foundation hosts student mock trials

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Dozens of students will get some experience handling cases in court today, thanks to the Kane County Bar Foundation.

The foundation’s Law Day Mock Trial Program will be held at the Kane County Judicial Center, 37W777 Route 38, St. Charles. The trials will begin at 11:30 a.m. and are open to the public.

Students from six area schools, including Batavia High School, will compete against each other playing the role of either prosecution or the defense in a hypothetical burglary case. The students on each team will get to play either the role of an attorney or witness, and will get to learn the Illinois Rules of Evidence and criminal procedure.

“It’s exposure for the students to how our system of justice works,” said Mike Doyen, president of the Kane County Bar Foundation.

About 72 students will participate in the program, Attorney Dewey Hollingsworth said. There are typically two attorneys for each team with their own witnesses and also a group of students that participate as jurors.

Students have been hard at work since they were assigned the trial problem March 26. They also were told which side, prosecution or defense, they should prepare for.

Batavia High School is scheduled to compete against Bartlett High School.

Other participating schools include Aurora Central Catholic, Elgin Academy, St. Edward Central Catholic and West Aurora High School. Local attorneys and judges from the community will participate by offering critiques and guidance as to what it is like to be a trial lawyer.

The program is usually held on a day near Law Day, which is May 1.

The trial program was first offered about 35 years ago by the Kane County Bar Association, Hollingsworth said. Then the Kane County Bar Foundation, an Association affiliate, became the sponsor of the program by the mid-1990s.

Hollingsworth said one or more of the foundation team members were mock trial high school participants themselves in the late 1990s and 2000s.

“We believe in the program and intend to continue to support it,” Hollingsworth said in an email.

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