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Williston High School Students ‘Go Legal’

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By Natasha Alley
Special to the Pioneer

Williston High School students from Mrs. April Palmer’s 4th and 7th period Law Studies classes will take on roles in a mock trial, which will take place on April 27 in the Williston High School auditorium 4th through 7th period.
The defense team consists of Nick Sanchez, Kate Barber, Bryce Moore, and Mathew Coram. The prosecution team consists of Shawn Todd, Nikole Brown, Katie Casperson, and Jolene Crews. They will face off in the case of Walker vs.  Brewster. Scott Walker will be portrayed by Tim Berrios, and Tanya Brewster will be portrayed by Tabitha Crosby.  
 The synopsis of the case is as follows: On Dec. 4, 2003, five-year old Jesse Walker (played by Garrett Nance) was shot in his home by his 13–year old brother, T.J. Walker (played by Karran Doehki). Scott Walker (played by Tim Berrios) went to a friend’s house to return a drill and felt the T.J was old enough to watch the kids for a few minutes.
While Scott was away, T.J showed Jesse a gun he stole from an unlocked toolbox from his mom's (Tanya Brewster) house.  As Jesse tried to pull the gun from T.J’s hands, a shot was fired, hitting Jesse. Because of this, Jesse is now permanently paralyzed.
The gun in question was registered to Carl Newhouse (played by Mark Wiggin), Tanya's live-in boyfriend.  As a result, Jesse will now require specialized medical care for the rest of his life.
 Mr. Walker filed a lawsuit against Ms. Brewster on Jan. 7, 2004 for all medical expenses, future expenses, and the loss of Jesse’s companionship. Though Scott had remarried and Jesse was a child from his second marriage, Ms. Brewster had sole custody of T.J., and Scott blames her for negligent storage of a weapon and lack of child supervision.   
Students in key roles were interviewed concerning their involvement with the case and their overall experience with the mock trial.
What is your role in the trail?
ST: I am one of a four-man prosecution team.
NS: I’m a defense attorney protecting my client, Tanya Brewster (Tabitha Crosby)
TB: I’m a witness for the prosecution and I’m suing Tanya Brewster for my son Jesse’s medical expenses.
TC: My role is “Tanya” , mother of the young boy who shot his step brother.How important is your role in winning the case?
ST: We're a crucial part of the case. We represent Scott, so without us, there wouldn’t be a case.
NS: Very important. I defend the client against the prosecution team, who is trying to make the jury believe my client is guilty.
TB: Very important, because if I cannot convince the jury that Jesse’s shooting was only Tanya’s fault, then I will be responsible for my team losing the case.
TC: I’m a very important witness.  Tanya has more trustworthy evidence than the other witnesses. Overall, what do you think of the trial process?
ST: I feel it’s a good experience for students and a learning opportunity. Overall, it’s a lot of fun.
NS: It’s a very good thing for people pursuing a career in law, and a great learning experience for the future.
TB: It is a good idea because you can have a little experience going into the law field.
TC: I enjoy it a lot. It’s giving me a new perspective on the court system.  I wish we could do more of these. Sure it takes a lot of planning and studying, but all in all, it’s a new experience.
As a student in the class, but not taking part in the trial, I feel the experience of it is unlike any other. You’re able to get a perspective of how the court system operates, and the preparation process the attorneys need to go through. I feel this is an excellent class to take if you’re pursuing a career in law.