SUNY Canton Hosts Annual Mock Trial Tournament for Area High Schools

Area high schools have begun competing in this year’s SUNY Canton Mock Trial Tournament. Students began prosecuting and defending opposing sides of a topical case this week, and will continue the series of spirited legal proceedings through April 8.

mock trial

The goal of the Mock Trial Program, co-sponsored by the New York State Bar Association (NSBA), the New York Bar Foundation, and the Law, Youth, & Citizenship (LYC) Program, is to teach high school students critical debating and trial skills. In preparing for their roles as attorneys and witnesses, high school student teams obtain first-hand knowledge of criminal and civil law, courtroom procedures, ethics, civility, and professionalism, as well as a greater understanding of the fundamental rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.

Each year, the assigned case reflects important current legal issues. This year, the schools will be arguing a criminal proceeding involving the suppression of evidence in an illegal drug case.

More than 350 teams representing thousands of students and 1,500 volunteer attorney coaches participate in the New York Statewide Mock Trial Program. Area participants include teams from Hammond Central School, Heuvelton Central School, Massena Central High School, Morristown Central School, Ogdensburg Free Academy, and Potsdam Central High School.

The judges who will preside in this year’s competitions include Marcia LaMay, the President of the St. Lawrence County Bar Association, Canton Town Justice Cathleen O’Horo, Jondavid DeLong, the Dean of SUNY Canton’s School of Business and Liberal Arts, Surrogate’s Court Attorney Michelle Ladouceur, Former District Attorney Nicole Duvé, and SUNY Canton Legal Studies faculty members William Jones and Rosemary Philips.

County winners will compete in regional tournaments in April and the top team from each of New York State’s six regions will then participate in the State Finals in Albany, New York in May.

Competitions will be held on designated days in SUNY Canton’s Kingston Theater and are free and open to the public.

For more information, or for a complete schedule of cases, please contact Alexander Lesyk, SUNY Canton assistant professor and legal studies curriculum coordinator, by phone (315) 386-7517 or email


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