Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fairy-tale characters take the stand to teach children about the law

I haven't seen one of these articles in a while but they are appearing more frequently now. Must mean summer is coming for the fairy tale mock trials seem to come with the higher temperatures and longer days. This particular entry was especially fun.

From Fairy-tale characters take the stand to teach children about the law by Melissa Dribben:

The mock trials took place Friday, the final day of an annual celebration of the American legal system, coordinated by the Philadelphia Bar Association's young lawyers division. Judges Sandra Mazer Moss, Annette M. Rizzo, Sheila Woods-Skipper, Gary Glazer, Teresa Sarmina, Marlene Lachman, and Fox presided over the fairy-tale cases - fairy tale, in these instances, in its literary sense rather than indicating any bias for or against the validity of the plaintiffs' claims.

During the week, the association also arranged for volunteer lawyers to give free legal advice and information to library patrons; give high school students tours of the city's courts; and talk with students about careers in law.

The three pigs were represented by Todd Zamostien of the personal injury firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky (which represents the plaintiffs in the duck-boat accident).

Wolf retained Beth Goodell, a defense lawyer from Community Legal Services.

On the witness stand, Wolf, a.k.a. Richard Vanderslice, who bought his hairy, sharp-clawed paws on Amazon.com, testified that he only was trying to make friends with the pigs and felt terrible that his sneezing blew down their homes.

Under questioning, he admitted that because he has no kitchen in his den, "I have to eat out a lot."

One of the tensest moments came when Wolf's physician, a Dr. Lupine, testified that her house was made of sticks and straw. This raised doubts among some astute jurors who wondered why a legitimate allergist would live in a building constructed of such noxious materials.

After deliberating for nearly 10 minutes in Common Pleas Courtroom 426, five of the six juries from the third-grade class from C.W. Henry School determined that Wolf neither intimidated the plaintiffs nor willfully destroyed their property. The sixth panel ended in a hung jury.

Juror Thomas McGill of Mount Airy tried to raise his hand and object during closing arguments, but was asked by the judge to wait.

After the trial, Thomas said he could relate to Wolf's predicament.

"I think B.B. Wolf is innocent because he has allergies," he said. "I have allergies, too!"

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