On Thursday, April 19, a jury gathered to hear opening statements, watch as witnesses were questioned by prosecution and defense, and to ultimately make a decision on the fate of one man and the charges against him—all in the name of learning.
This was a mock trial organized by Bethany Lutheran College Legal Studies Professor Sara Edwards, J.D., with the help of adjunct instructor Dan Birkholz, J.D., and attorney Ryan Drea, J.D.
The trial had every feeling of being real as it was held in a Blue Earth County Justice Center courtroom with criminal defense attorney Calvin Johnson, J.D., acting as judge.
While the event was open to students from the legal studies/paralegal program and Bethany Law Club, there were also many BLC staff and faculty who either participated or watched the proceedings.
Bethany students Nic Meyer, Noelle Younge, Ryana Sadaka, and Kipp Adams made up the prosecution team. Defendant Matt Flygare had Madison Barber, Silas Petersen, and Emily Kjeer on his defense team. They called witnesses Maddy Elmquist, Lisette Yowa, Beau Curtis, and Noella Wigtil who were all very convincing.
The students started their preparations at the beginning of the semester and met several times to prepare their case strategies, opening and closing statements, and witness questions.
“It was an amazing learning experience for our students and for all of those who attended. I was so proud and impressed with all of them,” said Edwards.
“They were knowledgeable, professional, confident, and poised during the entire event. This will give them an advantage when applying to law school or when pursuing any law-related career.”
Edwards says they plan on starting a competitive mock trial program in the fall for students who want to continue to improve their legal skills. These students would compete against mock trial teams from other colleges and universities.