In an effort to assist Kaiserslautern High School Street Law students with commemorating Law Day, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s legal services center hosted a mock trial April 21 in the William J. Argue Courtroom on Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern.
Each year, since its establishment by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, Americans have celebrated May 1 as Law Day. According to federal statute, Law Day is a special day of celebration for the cultivation of the respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life.
The 21st TSC’s legal office has been assisting students throughout the area in celebrating Law Day for more than 15 years, said Joseph Hall, the 21st TSC’s international law attorney. This year students celebrated in accordance with the theme, “The Legacy of John Adams: From Boston to Guantanamo.”
In keeping with this year’s theme, the mock trial didn’t focus on John Adams’ accomplishments as a U.S. president, but as a Massachusetts lawyer defending eight British soldiers and their commander in the 1770 Boston Massacre.
In an effort to prepare the Street Law students for their mock trial, lawyers from the 21st TSC visited the KHS students to give classes on the following topics: opening and closing statements, criminal law and investigations, direct and cross examinations, introducing exhibits, court reporter duties, rules of evidence, and prosecutions and defense strategies.
“I think the whole thing was awesome. The Soldiers were there with us from the beginning,” said Jordan Gunnip, a Street Law student at KHS. “They taught us how to write our opening statements and how to set up the evidence to prove certain things. They basically showed us everything from beginning to end.”
“First we teach them the vocabulary, the nomenclature of jurors’ prudence, what is law,” said Mark E. Fairchild, the KHS Street Law teacher.
The students were also taught the traditions of English common law, the philosophers whose writing influenced what is now the American legal system, the process of law and more, Mr. Fairchild said.
After all the classes and studying of the 1770 Boston Massacre trial, the students finally received the opportunity to put what they learned to use when they re-enacted the trial in the courtroom with more than 30 of their peers and 21st TSC Soldiers watching them.
The students acted in rolls as the defense, prosecution, accused, witnesses, recorder and even the bailiff.
“I think the students did an amazing job,” said Capt. Nancy J. Lewis, the officer-in-charge of the Kleber Legal Services Center. “I think overall it was a great event and I’m really proud of my office for putting it all together.”
“I am really appreciative of what the 21st TSC did for us and I am glad that it was a great success,” Jordan said.
Captain Lewis said the 21st TSC’s Legal Services Center plans to continue its roll in assisting students commemorate Law Day for the years to come.