Jean Valentine and the Courtroom

Jean Valentine’s insight into how Trial Team did at their State Competition


Kevin Lowery

Jean Valentine presents evidence to the court in state competition for the trial portion of Constitution Project.

Constitution Project’s overwhelming win at the regional competition was exciting, to say the least. Though, this meant that the team also had to compete at State Competition with the opponents that were evenly matched as they were, especially in regards to the most public and nervous-inducing event of them all: Trial Advocacy.

“I mean we were excited but nervous because its State Competition, you know,” said Jean Valentine, the only junior on the team, about how the trial team handled the situation.

In Trial Advocacy, the team gets to be involved with a mock case in which they get to be prosecution (putting a criminal on trial and trying to get a guilty verdict) or defense (trying to defend someone accused of a crime against prosecution) of an accused suspect of a crime. Our team at State Competition was prosecution in the matter of a man accused of attempted murder by car bomb. What the team uses to prove the case, is solid evidence meant to show a certain fact that helps the verdict.

“I introduced evidence (example: pictures, cracked window, DNA samples, and other things left at the crime scene) that would help our case and show our side of the story. It’s extremely important because if we don’t have evidence, we don’t have a case. So we also needed to create an evidence list, put it through a specific witness who had a connection to it (laying a foundation), and label it as ‘State’s Exhibit ___’ when we introduced it,” Valentine said.

Constitution Project is an amazing opportunity to coordinate with actual professionals in law enforcement. Trial Team specifically had the unique chance to get advice about what happens in the courtroom from a real lawyer team. The team also could experience being in a real courtroom, as well as an authentic judge from our county.

“I don’t think I will do it as a profession when I get older, but it let me try it out. It’s like a free trial of sorts.” Valentine said.

The team overall got 2nd place in the state of Missouri and received an award for the CSI investigation team portion of the competition.