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Objection sustained: St. Joe splits matches at district Mock Trial Competition

Mock Team Trial legal adviser Mark McCown, left, speaks to St. Joseph High School students Eli Lutz, center, and Daniel Hodges, right, about strategy against undefeated Portsmouth on Friday before the start of the Mock Trial Competition on Friday.

Mock Team Trial legal adviser Mark McCown, left, speaks to St. Joseph High School students Eli Lutz, center, and Daniel Hodges, right, about strategy against undefeated Portsmouth on Friday before the start of the Mock Trial Competition on Friday.

Attorney for the plaintiff (St. Joe’s Ariel Porter) rose from her seat in the juvenile courtroom of the Scioto County Courthouse.

“Objection, relevance,” she told municipal court Judge Russ Kegley. “Overruled,” he said.

Porter’s objection came during the defense attorney’s (Wheelersburg’s Stephen Dye) line of questioning for a witness during a district Mock Trial Competition in Portsmouth.

St. Joe’s plaintiff’s team comprised of junior Emma Saxby (attorney), Porter, senior Zorada Porter (Emerson Jones) and junior Alyssa Miller (Dr. Jamie Lawrence) defeated Wheelersburg’s defense team on Friday in the first of two competitions.

Plaintiff Jones (Zorada Porter) is a female inmate at the Buckeye Juvenile Correctional Institute and is suing for a violation of her Eighth Amendment rights, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Jones was a highly recruited high school basketball player who had aspirations of playing in college and professionally.

During a food fight in the jail’s cafeteria in which Jones may or may not have been the instigator, her wrist was injured because of what she claims was excessive force by one of the guards.

Furthermore, the BJCI’s in-house nurse Robin Rodgers (Wheelersburg’s Abby Runyon) took an X-ray of Jones’ wrist and determined it was sprained. Three weeks after the cafeteria food fight Jones’ complaints about her wrist continued and she was referred to Dr. Jamie Lawrence (Miller), an orthopedic surgeon who for the past 10 years has also worked as an expert legal witness.

Lawrence determined Jones’ wrist was broken and she suffered permanent damage because it was not treated as a break.

“An MRI clearly revealed a break in the scaphoid bone,” Lawrence said while pointing to exhibit A, which was a copy of the X-ray. “She will never be able to fully recover because the treatment was so delayed.”

The possible vascular narcosis, bone degradation, arthritis, chronic pain and decreased range of motion that can occur from the break going untreated will likely end Jones’ basketball career.

“Congratulations to the team on a great competition,” Mark McCown, Ironton attorney and St. Joe Mock Trial Team legal adviser for the past 18 years, said. “They did a fantastic job defeating Wheelersburg.”

Kegley addressed the teams at the conclusion.

“We saw a lot of good stuff,” Kegley said. “On the opening and closings you all gave us a good development of what the facts were going to be.”

Rusty Miller, an attorney and member of the judging panel, awarded the Miller with the “Outstanding Witness” award and attorney and panel member Ruth Buckler awarded Saxby with the “Outstanding Attorney” award.

“Your participation shows a level of commitment we don’t see too often,” Buckler said. “Everyone did well.”

In the second competition, St. Joe’s defense team of senior Elijah Lutz (attorney), sophomore Daniel Hodges (attorney), junior Brady Parlato (witness) and sophomore Jonah Lewis (witness) took on Portsmouth High School’s plaintiff team.

Lutz knew prior to the competition defeating Portsmouth wasn’t going to be easy.

“I don’t know if Portsmouth has ever lost,” Lutz said. “We’ve all worked incredibly hard; two hours every day since November practicing for this. It’s a big deal even if we lose.”

Portsmouth kept the streak alive by defeating St. Joe in a very close match.

“We were only barely beaten by Portsmouth,” McCown said. “According to Court of Appeals Judge Matthew McFarland, who presided over the Portsmouth match, it was the best competition he has ever seen at a district match, and one of the three best he has seen at any level.”

The St. Joe Mock Trial Team’s adviser is Glenna McClain.