September 1, 2017
FORTY YOUNGSTERS from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida put their summer legal learning to use by conducting mock trials at the offices of Ninth Judicial Circuit Public Defender Robert Wesley. Since mid-June, the students, ages 10-17, have been preparing to match legal wits as a culmination of Law Camp, a 12-year partnership with Wesley’s office and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. Attorneys, legal interns, and other professionals from the Public Defender’s Office have used games, presentations, and interactive video to teach youngsters about the legal system, including legal roles/process, the Bill of Rights, case mitigation, pleas and offers for case resolution, and criminal sentencing. “We’re happy to introduce the students to our legal system, the many career opportunities within the legal profession, and the link between understanding our courts and good citizenship,” said Wesley. The mock trial focused on whether students of a fictional high school had broken Florida’s recently passed Anti-Cyberbullying Act. Following an hour-long trial, the jury found the young defendants not guilty of bullying a fellow student through social media.