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Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Senior Connor Jens is used as an example of how sheriffs put on prisoner’s hand cuffs, Nov. 30.

Senior students venture over to downtown Fresno to the city courthouse. Here, students listen to a judge, his assistant, and two sheriff deputies.

The men and women share their stories of work and what their contribution is to maintaining a smooth, efficient and fair court case. Before heading back to school, the class split into groups of three and sit in on part of a real court trial.

For weeks, civics teacher, Robert Foshee, teaches students about the American government, laws, rights, and the purpose and role of the U.S. court system.  

To grasp an even more understanding of the court, the civics class dig in deeper into the functions of a court trial by acting out their own mock trial to understand the flow of how a court case works.

They learn the different responsibilities of each position held in the courtroom such as the power of the jury, the judge, lawyers, witnesses and even rights of the defendant.

In each civics class, roles are chosen to each student to what they will portray in the mock trial. For the defense, one student becomes the defendant, two lawyers and two witnesses. For the prosecution side, there are two lawyers and three witnesses. The rest of the class participates as the jury. Foshee oversees the mock trial, taking the position of the judge.

In the trial, students act out the (pretend) murder case and their goal is to decide if the defendant is innocent or guilty. This assignment helps students learn the importance of the U.S. court system and how each person’s position in court, plays a major part in cases.

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