Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mock Trial Season is Here!

Mock Trial Season is Here!

The new case: post-Super Storm Sandy, State v. Jordan Abrams Teacher-coaches and lawyer-coaches entering their teams in the Foundation’s award-winning Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition—now in its 34th season—attended a late October workshop on the finer points of preparing for competition. The response was as enthusiastic as ever, with more than 180 participants from all over the
The Hon. Mark A. Baber, Superior Court, Hudson County, presided while two teams enacted their versions of the 2016 case for the packed auditorium. The fictional criminal case involved a break-in and its deadly aftermath at a Jersey Shore home not long after the devastation of Super Storm Sandy. The basics: Late one evening disaster again struck a shore family when Chris Pavano and three other teenage intruders smashed their way into Jordan Abrams’ beach house, resulting in a death. Was Pavano’s death a result of self-defense? Or did homeowner Abrams shoot him for other reasons?

Courtroom artists Aggie Kenny and Elizabeth Williams drew the mock trial that was presented at this event along with student, Kara O'Brien.

Below are selections from the event and staged mock trial by Kenny and Williams:

New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s first Courtroom Artist Student Competition.

New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s first 
Courtroom Artist Student Competition. 
The Fusing of Art, Law and Journalism.
Deadline to Enter November 30, 2015. Forms can be found at

The idea is for artistically inclined teens to sketch their school’s mock trial team in action at their local county courthouse. The winner will be recognized at the finals of the Foundation’s 2015-2016 Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition at the New Jersey Law Center on March 21 of next year. Judges will be Kenny and Williams, who have also agreed to serve as mentors; Foundation president Steven M. Richman, Esq.; Beth Mason of Mason Civic Art Gallery, Hoboken; and Brian J. Neary, Esq., a Certified Trial Attorney based in Hackensack.
Brian Neary, defense attorney for Leona Beldini in Newark Federal Court, 2011.

As explained to the teachers, the entrants are to sketch only their own school’s team at the courthouse, where all work must be completed; no sketches may be worked on at home. “It’s about immediacy,” said Williams. They will have about two hours to finish their drawing—or drawings, as more than one may be submitted—and hand in their work to the teacher, who will then scan or photograph the sketches before sending them on to the Foundation. All submissions are due at the Foundation by February 15.

A full set of the artists’ helpful tips can be found on the Foundation’s website at

For interested teachers and students
go to or contact Cynthia Pellegrino at 732-937-7507 or

What, Why and How a court artist works, for Mock Trial Court Artists