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Students Tackle Free Speech Issues at 19th Annual Youth Law Fair

By Jeffery Leon

March 21, 2018

Youth Law Fair 2018

Washington, D.C.-area students at the 19th Annual Youth Law Fair, held on March 17 at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse. The popular event offers free hands-on experience with the law to local middle and high schoolers.

This year students explored the theme of #RallyVsRiot. In a time of discord, how can you express your ideas and stand up for your beliefs, while trying to understand and respect other people’s opinions?

After Chief Judge Robert Morin and Judge Melvin Wright of the D.C. Superior Court, as well as D.C. Bar President Patrick McGlone welcomed attendees, they broke out into courtrooms to participate in mock trials. Working with volunteer attorneys and judges, students played the roles of both prosecution and defense in a case about an act of bigotry during a rally.

After the verdicts were read, there was a lively question and answer period where students talked about their takeaways and discoveries in the courtroom, including agreeing to disagree on differences of opinion, de-escalating techniques, and more.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Youth Law Fair:

D.C. Bar president Patrick McGlone welcomes the students to the 19th Annual Youth Law Fair. 

D.C. Bar president Patrick McGlone welcomes the students to the 19th Annual Youth Law Fair.

Students receive guidance from attorneys as they prepare for mock trials.

Students receive guidance from attorneys as they prepare for mock trials.

Judge Tara Fentress provides guidance to Judge Jada before the start of the trial. 

Judge Tara Fentress provides guidance to Judge Jada before the start of the trial.

A case is underway. 

A case is underway.

The post-trial Q&A session. Students sharing what they learned. 

The post-trial Q&A session. Students sharing what they learned.