Glenelg High's mock trial team advances Students win in 1st round of statewide competition

April 11, 1997|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

Glenelg High School's mock trial team -- 14 students who mimic a court case with lawyers and witnesses -- have won the first round in a statewide championship after defeating a private school from Anne Arundel County.

After its victory Wednesday night, the team -- along with eight others from across the state -- will advance to regional contests later this month. The finals are scheduled in mid-May.

The Glenelg students, the first in Howard County to go this far in the competition, put in more than 100 hours of practice since December, said coach Charlie Ashcraft. They beat a team from Severn School at the Howard County Circuit Courthouse in Ellicott City Wednesday night.

The case in the competition involved a fictional 17-year-old pregnant girl with an alleged alcohol problem whose parents and boyfriend want to have her confined to a state hospital until she gives birth -- to protect the baby from the possibility of fetal alcohol syndrome. Local lawyers and judges decide which team presents the better case.

The twist in this case, said Ashcraft, is that the teen-ager will turn 18 two weeks after her due date -- giving students a lesson in "liberties and responsibilities."

"The students are getting to think about how this girl's personal liberty is in question and where the lines are drawn," said Ashcraft. "They get hands-on experience in how a courtroom functions and the amount of research that goes into preparing for a case."

Last year was the fourth for the Glenelg team. It faced Severn School in the same round of the tournament and lost.

Two other Howard County high schools -- Mount Hebron and Hammond -- have mock trial teams. Both started this year.

Baltimore attorney Allan H. Kittleman, who has worked with the Glenelg students, said he has been impressed by their dedication and drive.

"These kids are exceptional," Kittleman said. "I've been in practice since 1988, and they could handle some of the cases I've got. They are very poised under pressure."

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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