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Third Graders Acquit the Big Bad Wolf in Mock Trial

By Tracy Schorn

January 25, 2018

D.C. Superior Court Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo and mock judge Robin Campos-Arias

On January 11 fairytale villain the Big Bad Wolf found a sympathetic jury of third graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C., and was acquitted of charges of breaking and entering.

The mock trial in the case of El Distrito de Columbia v. El Gran Lobo Feroz is the brainchild of D.C. Superior Court Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo and is conducted entirely in Spanish with the bilingual Bancroft school each January.

In creating the mock trial, one of Judge Puig-Lugo’s goals was to offer students more access to civics education, which has disappeared from many school curriculums. In December’s Washington Lawyer, Puig-Lugo said the mock trial, using fairytale characters, helps demystify the legal system and the judicial process for school kids.

And so this year the Big Bad Wolf, aka El Gran Lobo Foroz, stood before a jury of her peers in the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse. (With a name like El Gran Lobo Feroz, pretrial bias could be a problem, but Judge Puig-Lugo says the Wolf’s odds of acquittal generally “run about 50–50.”)

Despite emotional testimony by one of the Little Pigs played by Alejandro Soliz, and a vigorous prosecution by Jefferson Manzo Rameriz, the Wolf was found not guilty of all charges. The Wolf, played by Anna Tisa, attributed her innocent verdict to her honest face.

The acquittal, however, could’ve also been due to the skill of her defense attorney, Eva Rosa Puig, who may have learned a thing or two about the law from her judge father.

As the trial came to an end, mock judge Robin Campos-Arias announced the “not guilty” verdict, whereupon the Wolf and the court adjourned for some post-trial snacks. Justice was served with cheese crackers and apples.