The Bluefield State College Criminal Justice program recently conducted its 28th annual Mock Trial competition in the courtroom of Mercer County Circuit Court Judge William Sadler. This year’s competition marked the first time the BSC mock trial event has been held in Judge Sadler’s courtroom.
Students in BSC Professor Michael Lilly’s “Criminal Procedures and Evidence” class take part in the mock trials each year, and the trials are recorded by the BSC Instructional Technology Center. Students are grouped into competing teams and are provided a “bare bones” trial scenario from which to work, according to Lilly.
“All decisions about counsel, witnesses, and trial techniques are left up to each team,” he explained. “Innovative trial techniques are encouraged.” Fifteen students took part in this year’s mock trial.
“The best way for students to learn about what happens in a criminal trial is to participate in one that is designed to be as close to the real thing as possible,” Lilly continued. “Over the years, many of our students involved in mock trials have become successful criminal justice professionals in law enforcement, corrections, parole, and probation.”
Following last week’s mock trial, Judge Sadler provided the students with his insights regarding trial tactics, West Virginia homicide trials, and how the criminal justice system functions. “The BSC Criminal Justice program truly appreciates Judge Sadler for his insight and participation,” Lilly added. The Bluefield State Criminal Justice program is celebrating its 47th year of educating college students in various degree and career options.