Mockery of justice

Patrick Sullivan

Staff Writer

An SC4 Mock Trial produced a hung jury last Tuesday, April 20. The trial was held by the SC4 social science department to raise awareness of sexual assault for National Sexual Awareness month.

The program included volunteers from the safe horizons victim assistance agency, local prosecutors, county sheriffs, a district judge and a local law firm as well as a student jury. The trial was held between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the SC4 Fine Arts Theater.

Student turnout was excellent, according to Department Chair for social sciences Kathy Ruby, with attendance just over 200 students. The case represented a date rape at a fictional university.

Two lawyers argued their cases in front of an audience, calling witnesses, and presenting strong cases for both sides.

Afterwards a jury of students from several campus clubs deliberated, and eventually reached a majority for not guilty, with one juror’s guilty vote causing a hung jury.

After the trial’s conclusion, survivor of sexual assault, Sara Yien, spoke on her experiences and shared her feelings. When she concluded, the volunteers answered questions relating to the trial and sexual assault and how it can be presented.

Student coordinator Kristen Richardson said the event was in planning since last September, and that she was very happy with the results. “If it (the event) helped even one person it was worth it,” Richardson said. “I continue to be surprised to how responsive the community is.”

The Social Science department will be presenting a “Walking Through the System” seminar on April 28 for victims, survivors, significant others and concerned community members.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, with registration beginning at 8:30, at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Auditorium.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please call the safe horizons 24-hour helpline at: 888-985-5538.

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