HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL AND COURT OF APPEALS ORAL ARGUMENT
April 29, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in the Posey Circuit Courtroom: PUBLIC IS INVITED
The Posey County Bar Association led by its President, Attorney William Bender, will join with Posey County’s two high schools, the Indiana Court of Appeals and the public in celebrating Law Day 2016.
The Mock Trial will involve the high school students led by their teachers. Posey Superior Court Judge Brent Almon will preside and a Jury comprised of Posey County attorneys will decide if two computer companies should be forced to break into the iPhones of private citizens. The Mock Trial fact pattern was published in this column last week.
After the Mock Trial a three-judge panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals will hold oral argument on the appeal of Lockhart vs. State. Jerome Lockhart was convicted of rape and sexual misconduct with a minor. He is appealing his conviction on several grounds. He claims his constitutional right to a trial by a jury of his peers was violated when the only African American potential juror was stricken from the jury by the prosecutor.
This “Batson Challenge” is based on the United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Batson vs. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). In the Batson trial there were only four African Americans on the venire, the list of potential jurors. The prosecuting attorney struck all four using peremptory challenges. Mr. Batson appealed citing the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses contained in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that to strike potential jurors merely because of their race was unconstitutional. If one side of a case wishes to strike such a juror, the attorney who exercises the strike must establish there was a “race neutral” reason for the challenge. A race neutral reason might be a criminal record or drug use or prejudice for or against one side.
On April 29, 2016 in the courtroom of the Posey Circuit Court Mr. Lockhart’s attorney, Ronald Smith, and Deputy Attorney General, Monika Prekopa Talbot, will try to convince the judges of the Indiana Court of Appeals (John Baker, Melissa May, and Mark Bailey) their legal position is correct.
This important issue should be both interesting and informative. The public is invited to observe and listen.