PHOTO #1: From right, Municipal Court Judge Vanessa Heinold, Senior Police Officer Emily Erickson and Sgt. William Bernard visit Mrs. Terri Covington’s eighth-grade social studies class at Nazareth Academy on Oct. 27 to help the students prepare for an upcoming mock trial. Photo contributed by Nazareth Academy.
PHOTO #2: Victoria Police Department Sgt. William Bernard instructs an eighth-grade student to walk in a straight line while wearing impairment goggles during a simulated field sobriety test Oct. 27 in Mrs. Terri Covington’s eighth-grade social studies class at Nazareth Academy. Photo contributed by Nazareth Academy.
The City of Victoria Municipal Court will host a mock trial featuring eighth-grade students from Nazareth Academy at 9 a.m. Dec. 14 in the municipal courtroom at 107 W. Juan Linn St.
The mock trial is open to in-person attendance by the public. The trial will also be livestreamed on Facebook at City of Victoria Municipal Court.
The two eighth-grade classes will conduct two separate trials, with the second trial expected to begin about 10 a.m. Both trials are based on a fictional murder case involving an 18-year-old defendant.
Most of Municipal Court’s mock trials are centered on traffic safety cases to teach students about responsible driving. However, Municipal Court Judge Vanessa Heinold said that after visiting the classes and seeing how engaged and curious the students were, she decided to challenge them with a case that would give them a more in-depth look at different features of the justice system.
In preparation for the mock trial, Heinold has been visiting the classes twice a week since October, teaching them about court proceedings and helping them develop statements and examination questions to use during the trial.
“Teaching these students about the court system has been such a rewarding process for me,” Heinold said. “I encourage the community to come out and support these students after all their hard work.”
Because the fictional defendant is alleged to be a victim of bullying, Heinold also talked with the students about the seriousness of real-world bullying.
Although the case does not address traffic safety, Victoria Police Department Sgt. William Bernard and Senior Police Officer Emily Erickson visited the classes to talk about the dangers of impaired driving and conduct hands-on activities using impairment goggles.
To learn more about Municipal Court programs, visit www.victoriatx.gov/municipalcourt. To partner with the court for an educational event, visit www.victoriatx.gov/courtoutreach.