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Students Spend Time In Court During PAL Mock Trial Competition

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some middle school students in Philadelphia argued before a real common pleas judge on Wednesday as part of a Police Athletic League mock trial at the Criminal Justice Center.

"All rise!"

With Judge Joel Johnson presiding, teams of prosecutors and defense attorneys argued over evidence in a fake arson case. Program Director Chase Trimmer says the kids are learning lessons for a lifetime.

"The ability to gain critical thinking skills, how to communicate, develop an argument that is objective," Trimmer said. "It really helps support them into adulthood."

PAL Mock Trial
(credit: Mike Dougherty)

Tatiana Singleton played the role of prosecutor.

"I want to become a lawyer," she said, "and I think it will help me because I'm scared to talk in front of people."

Saron Smith also aspires to become an attorney, but he's already utilizing some of his new skills in quarrels.

"I learned that when I'm dissecting the argument, I have to look at it from both standpoints," he said. "I've gotta be able to read the same information and think about my side of it and the other person's side."

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