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Posted on: November 3, 2020

Municipal Court partners with Trinity Episcopal School to host mock trial

A man, a woman and another man stand in a row in front of a class. Woman talks to man on her right.

PHOTO #1: From left, Victoria Police Department Cadet John Edwards, Municipal Court Judge Vanessa Heinold and Officer Phillip Garcia give a presentation Oct. 20 to Katrina Pogue’s eighth-grade history class at Trinity Episcopal School in preparation for a mock trial. Photo contributed by Katrina Pogue.

A woman watches a uniformed girl wearing impairment goggles try to walk in a line in a classroom.PHOTO #2: Municipal Court Judge Vanessa Heinold, left, watches as Sarah Schoener tries to walk in a straight line while wearing impairment goggles Oct. 20 at Trinity Episcopal School. Students in Katrina Pogue’s eighth-grade history class participated in hands-on activities using the impairment goggles to prepare for a mock trial based on a fictional DUI case. Photo contributed by Katrina Pogue. 

PHOTO #3: From left, Tia Cole and Ava Hamilton, students in Katrina Pogue’s eighth-grade history class at Trinity Episcopal School, try to read something written on the whiteboard while wearing impairment goggles Oct. 20. Photo contributed by Katrina Pogue. 

PHOTO #4: Back row, third from left, Victoria Police Department Cadet John Edwards, Officer Phillip Garcia and Municipal Court Judge Vanessa Heinold pose for a photo with students in Katrina Pogue’s eighth-grade history class at Trinity Episcopal School after visiting the class Oct. 20 in preparation for a mock trial. Photo contributed by Katrina Pogue. 

The City of Victoria Municipal Court will host a mock trial at 9 a.m. Thursday in the courtroom at 107 W. Juan Linn St. featuring eighth-grade students from Trinity Episcopal School.

Two girls wearing impairment goggles stand close to a whiteboard with large lettering written on it.“Teaching students about the legal process is part of building a more educated population,” said Municipal Court Judge Heinold, who will preside at the mock trial. “I love how it blends so many of the concepts they’re learning in school, and it teaches them how to speak in front of an audience, which is an important skill.”  

In preparation for the mock trial, which is based on a fictional DUI case, Heinold visited Trinity Episcopal School teacher Katrina Pogue’s eighth-grade history class twice a week for the past three weeks to teach students about court proceedings and answer questions.

“The kids look up to her, and they come up with all kinds of questions,” Pogue said. “We do a mock trial with Municipal Court every year, and the kids really look forward to it because they’ve watched it when they were in sixth and seventh grade.”

About 14 uniformed eighth-grade students pose for a photo with two men and one woman in the back.In addition, Victoria Police Department Cadet John Edwards and Officer Phillip Garcia visited the class to teach the students about field sobriety tests, including hands-on activities using impairment goggles, and Detective James Collins spoke with the students about his own experience testifying during trials.

The class of 14 will split into two groups to conduct two separate trials based on the same case, with the second trial expected to begin at approximately 10 a.m.

In order to promote safe social distancing, in-person attendance will be limited to the participants along with Trinity Episcopal School’s seventh-grade class. Municipal Court will host a livestream of the mock trial on its Facebook page so that the sixth-grade class and members of community can watch.

“We can’t thank the City enough for livestreaming the trial,” Pogue said. “The kids are so happy that their parents will be able to watch.”

The mock trial is being hosted as part of Municipal Court Week, a statewide initiative to promote public awareness of local courts and their role in the community. During the week, local courts are encouraged to host events to educate and engage with the public.

To watch the trial, visit “City of Victoria Municipal Court” on Facebook at 9 a.m. Nov. 5. To learn more about Municipal Court, visit www.victoriatx.gov/municipalcourt..

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