By Donna McBride
The Department of Pinal County Juvenile Court Services and its Community Advisory Board (CAB) will be co-sponsoring the Pinal County 7th Annual Mock Trial Competition. Several hundred middle school and high school students are expected to compete during the day long competition at Pinal County Superior Court in Florence on Friday, February 20, 2009 starting at 8:00am.
Students will have the opportunity to compete for best witness, opening statement, closing statements, cross examination, direction examination, and witness as they showcase their prosecution and defense skills.
Those competing in the middle school division are Casa Grande Junior High School, Cactus Middle School, Eloy Junior High School, West School, Toltec Middle School and Villago Middle School.
High School division includes Coolidge High School, Casa Grande High School, and Florence High School.
A distinguished group of Pinal County Superior Court Judges will be on hand to oversee the competition: Judge Kevin White, Judge Boyd Johnson, Judge Bradley Soos Judge Brenda Oldham, Judge Teresa Ratliff, Judge Carter Olson, Judge Rudy Georgini, Judge Stephen McCarville, Judge Jana Vanderpool and Judge Gilberto Figueroa.
The Community Advisory Board (CAB) is a diverse group of citizens who work with Juvenile Court Services to evaluate and enhance services to young people in Pinal County. Their common interest is to ensure that Juvenile Court practices continue to reflect the best interest of youth, families, victims, and the community.
Pinal County Juvenile Court Services
Overview of the two cases are provided below
State of Independence vs. Sandy Townsend
The Middle School case; State of Independence vs. Sandy Townsend, is a criminal case where the defendant; Sandy Townsend has been charged with second degree murder of a homeless woman; Ms Terese Jameson.
The body of Terese Jameson was discovered by Detective Ray Taylor in a trash dumpster in the alley behind Silver Streak Café, a restaurant owned by the defendant, Sandy Townsend. A piece of bloodstained paving stone bearing the fingerprints of Sandy Townsend was also found with the body. Forensic test results indicate that there are several other unidentifiable prints on the paving stone.
Ms Jameson was an employee of the defendant, Sandy Townsend at the Silver Streak Café. Shortly before her death, Ms Jameson had been fired for what the defendant called persistent lateness to work.
According to Ms Jameson's son/daughter, Mickey Jameson, and a Chris Long, an employee of the homeless shelter where the Jameson's had stayed briefly, Sandy Townsend had fired Terese when Terese confronted Sandy with a suspicion that horsemeat was being used in the Silver Streak café burgers.
On the morning of her death, Terese Jameson went to the café with the intention of giving Sandy an option of either rehiring her, or she reports to the city health about the use of horsemeat.
The only other person present at the café that morning was Pat Gonzalez, a meat delivery driver who says he/she did not witness any altercation between Sand and Terese Jameson. However, Pat says he/she did see a group of teenagers around the trash dumpster where Terese's body was later found. A single parent, Jean/Gene Wade believes that her/his son, Steven "Big Dog" Wade, who is in local gang with a reputation for preying on the homeless, and is currently missing, may be involved in the murder.
Jamie Anderson v. Taylor Williams
This year's high school case, Jamie Anderson v. Taylor Williams, is a civil action focused on cyber stalking, a timely topic in today's computer age. The plaintiff is Jamie Anderson, a Lincoln High School senior, who used the school's chat room as a means to stay on top of her/his academic pursuit of the highly coveted valedictorian scholarship.
The plaintiff was tied with defendant Taylor Williams for top spot in the class until her/his concentration was allegedly destroyed after reading threatening postings in the chat room between March 6 and March 10, 2008.
The cyber stalker sent Jamie additional threats via an anonymous e-mail on March 11, 2008, in a message that also included a link to a threatening web page.
The plaintiff contends that these statements caused her/him severe emotional distress, resulting in lower grades and loss of the valedictorian scholarship. Anderson alleges that the defendant was the person who posted the threatening remarks in order to cause Anderson to lose the valedictorian scholarship. William's actions, according to Anderson, violated the State of Arizona's civil cyber stalking statute (hypothetical). All events, characters and documents created for the 2009 case are fictional.
The 2009 mock trial case was initially drafted by the Illinois State Bar Association as a criminal case. It was substantially re-written to be a civil case for use in Pennsylvania by Jonathan A. Grode, a third year student at Temple University James Beasley School of Law and Jane Meyer, Esq., of the Pennsylvania State Bar Young Lawyers' Division Mock Trial Committee and the National High School Mock Trial Championship Board of Directors.
The case problem was again substantially re-written by Shannon L. Donahue, Esq., of Shannon L. Donahue, PC, Michelle Giger, President and CEO of Center for Civic Values, and Karl Johnson, Esq., of Luebben, Johnson & Barnhouse, LLP.