Light rain and breezy wind didn’t stop 170 middle and high school students from the District of Columbia and Maryland as they converged at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse on Saturday, March 8, 2008.Students learned about the legal system and the risks inherent to online networking sites, which underscored the theme of “Internet Issues: Dangers of Social Networking and Blogs.” This event was sponsored by the Litigation Section of the D.C. Bar in conjunction with the D.C. Superior Court and other sections of the D.C. Bar.
After the morning Speak–Out session, students were divided into four groups to participate in mock trials where they played the role of judge, jury, or counsel, with the help of lawyer volunteers and judges from D.C.’s Superior Court who explained the justice system and how to prepare for trial.
This year’s mock trials focused on a 14-year-old girl who committed suicide after becoming distraught over cruel comments written about her on MySpace by someone she thought was a high school boy. In actuality, it was a female classmate and her mother who were sending messages through a false account they created on MySpace as a prank.
In addition to the mock trials, Superior Court judges conducted tours of their courtrooms and holding cells. Following the presentation of verdicts from each trial the Youth Law Fair concluded with the drawing of exceptional door prizes.
The Youth Law Fair began nine years ago, and has been held ever since
in March, organized by the Litigation Section, other D.C. Bar sections,
and dedicated staff at the D.C. Bar and D.C. Superior Court.