South Orangetown Central School District

Tappan Zee High School students in Christine Drivas and Chris Novak’s Law and Literature classes have spent the last several weeks designing their own mock trials and last week, they presented their cases to their classmates.

For their mock trials, each group had to create their own scenario and write a case summary. Then, they had to provide witnesses to the crime, evidence and experts who would be able to prove the credibility of the evidence. The cases had to be even sided so there would be a chance for either the plaintiff or defendant to win.

“A big component of the class is participating in the mock trials. Now, they get to design their very own mock trials! This project shows the importance of evidence and witnesses in a trial,” explained Drivas. “Students sometimes take this class because they are thinking about pursuing a career in the criminal justice field or want to go to law school and others take it because they’re interested in the topic. This class helps students think critically, improve their public speaking skills and learn about the government process and the legal system.”

Law & Literature is a full-year course offered to students in grades 10-12. The class is taught jointly by a Social Studies and an English teacher. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a half credit for Social Studies and a half credit for English and will also result in the fulfillment of the New York State Participation in Government requirement.

Law and Literature Mock Trial