Lt. Robert McRight, victim legal counsel, and Lt. Katharine Shumway, defense attorney, spearheaded a mock trial hosted in the Region Legal Service Office Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (RLSO EURAFSWA) courtroom for 34 high school and middle school students from the Naples, Italy area on April 25. Students from both the local Department of Defense high school and various local home school programs litigated a first degree murder trial acting as attorneys, witnesses, defendant, bailiff, and jury. Cmdr. Arthur Gaston, the Circuit Military Judge, presided over both trials providing helpful feedback to the students and discussing with them the military justice system generally.
Guest witnesses from around base also graciously volunteered their time including U.S. Naval Support Activity Executive Officer Cmdr. David Gaugler; Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiner Cmdr. Carolyn Currie; Civilian Victim Advocate Ms. Karen Creen; and base security personnel. The mock trials represented the culmination of a yearlong pipeline recruiting and community outreach effort organized by McRight and Shumway. Attorneys and paralegals from RLSO EURAFSWA, Defense Service Office North, and Sixth Fleet participated in monthly workshops with high school students on topics including criminal law, constitutional law, torts, and military legal practice. Attorneys also volunteered their time to coach and assist the students in preparation for their litigation debuts.
The mock trial highlighted the excellent teamwork between the RLSO and its partners in the Naples area and, of course, showcased the courage and commitment of a new generation of potential legal professionals.