September 06, 2006
Twenty-three eighth graders participated in a mock trial
competition sponsored by the St. John’s School of Law last month
after a five-week prep course offered by a collaboration between
Legal Outreach, a nonprofit organization, and The
Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic
Development. The mock trial involved the criminal prosecution
of a woman who stabbed her husband. She attempted to use battered
women’s syndrome to defend her actions.
Two St. John’s law students, Jodi Lucena ’08 and Dennis Shelton,
07, were selected and trained by Legal Outreach to teach the eighth
graders. With guidance and instruction from Lucena and Shelton, the
eighth graders read law-related texts and cases, and were mentored
by law school professors and prominent alumni.
New York State Court of Appeals Judge Carmen Ciparick ’67, 03
HON served as the presiding judge during the final round of the
mock trial competition. Judge Ciparick found that the defense team
who called themselves "Truth Seekers" was the best overall team.
Team members of the “Truth Seekers” are: Jack Li, Amanda Coll,
Ashley Jabar, Antoinette Sturdivant, and Aminta Liu. Judge Ciparick
also cited the following students from the prosecution team for
best individual performance: Maneesha Bhugwansing, Robert Bruin,
and Ronica Sobers.
At the closing ceremony, Maneesha Bhugwansing was found to be
the most outstanding Queens Legal Outreach 2006 student, Amanda
Coll won the leadership award, and Ronica Sobers was cited as the
most improved student.
Leonard M. Baynes, the Director of The Ronald H. Brown Center
for Civil Rights and Economic Development, judged the initial round
of the mock trial competition. Baynes found the eighth graders to
be talented and motivated.
Baynes stated that “The collaboration with Legal Outreach is
vital to increasing the diversity of the legal profession because
we can’t start too early to get students of color interested in
pursuing law as a career.”
For more information contact Dominic Scianna, Director of Media
Relations, St. John’s University at (718) 990-6185 or e-mail
inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.