Allen Parish students participate in mock court proceedings - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Allen Parish elementary students participate in mock court proceedings

ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

A group of third and fourth graders in Allen Parish learned about the judicial system Monday by participating in a mock murder trial.

These students from Kinder Elementary and Reeves Elementary practiced their roles for almost a month in preparation for the mock murder trial. They're the judge, the jury, the district attorney, the defense team, the court reporter, even the bailiff.

"I learned how to be a judge and what they do and that it's a serious job," said Kinder Elementary school student Isabella Wade who served as the judge.

Allen Parish District Attorney Todd Nesom joined with district judges Joel Davis and Pat Cole to form a mock trial program. The program allows students to participate in a mock murder trial, all in hopes of leading them down the right path.

"I think that we're teaching them the right way," said Nesom. "It's fun and they want to ask questions, they want to learn and they want to know more about the system and the way it works. That's very fulfilling."

The mock prosecutor and defense team called and questioned witnesses which included little pigs two and three and the woodsman, who just last week saved Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother from the suspect: the big bad wolf. Both sides finished with their closing arguments before sending it to the young jury.

The mock trial even included courtroom distractions. Nesom's cell phone rang twice during the proceedings and the mock bailiff had to remove and unruly audience member.

After a brief deliberation, the jury returned with their decision. They were unable to reach a verdict, meaning a mistrial. Judge Cole hopes the children better understand the purpose of the justice system.

"I hope they take away that our judicial system, our criminal justice system is a system that protects them and it's there for them and that we try to keep things as fair as possible," said Judge Cole.  

This is the second year for the mock trials in Allen Parish. Last year the students heard the case of Snow White.

This year, Judge Cole wrote the big bad wolf script for the students and on Friday, schools from Oberlin, Fairview and Elizabeth will decide his fate in another mock trial.

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