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Snow White found innocent

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

Snow White was found innocent of criminal charges alleging she illegally used her step mother’s magic mirror. The trial was conducted by McPolin Elementary fifth-grade students on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Silver Summit Third District Court. The acquittal brought cheers from the gallery in a trial laced with passionate outbursts, jealousy and vanity.

Seventy-three Mcpolin fifth-grade students not only participated in the mock trial, but were able to relate their studies of the The United States Constitution to the legal system, with the help of Third District Judge Bruce Lubeck. Students sampled the chilling side of the law, touring a genuine holding cell adjacent to the courtroom.

"This is great," said Connie Jauregui, a spectator of the trial, whose son, Jarad was one of the Seven Dwarfs in the trial. "Jarad thought this was hilarious, but he was very interested."

Two separate Snow White trials took place, each with different participants from two McPolin classes. Snow White was accused by her wicked step-mother of entering her quarters and illegally using her magic mirror to be judged "the fairest of them all." White was acquitted because of a lack of substantive evidence. "Juror Kelsey Slough, said it was the right verdict because there were no finger prints proving Snow White’s presence.

"We got the verdict we wanted ," said student jurror Calvin Kennedy. "We didn’t want Sully (Tesch, the young prosecuter) to win. He didn’t have enough evidence."

One of the main organizers of the event, Carol Tesch, was both a spectator and liaison between the McPolin teachers and the personnel of the court.

Students were taken in groups into the holding cell and locked in for about a minute. The cell was a stark brick room with a stainless steel toilet and a bench for its only furnishings. Students filed out the cell with looks of amazement when the Summit County Sheriff’s deputy unlocked the door.

Spectator Terry Graham, mother of Jack Grahm, who was chosen to play Snow White because of his sense of humor, said of students’ temporary incarceration, "They’ve seen the jail cells, they’ve been locked in the cells, and that makes reality hit. Snow White’s not going down that road."

Jack, who admitted his playing Snow White was "weird," agreed with his mother’s assessment of the stark holding cells. "You can’t do anything in there. It’s just got a bench."

Brian O’Connor, who was Happy The Dwarf in the trial, said of the cell, "I’t’s cool, but kind of scary."

Justice Court Judge Lynn Sadler , in his judicial robes, helped with courtroom decorum. Summit County Attorney David Brickey offered legal advice to the McPolin trial lawyers.

Freelance teacher Sun Park, who has been preparing the McPolin students for trial, said of the several classes of students alternating positions in the rotations, "This is fantastic. These children are our posterity." He was especially pleased when in one trial, McPolin defense attorney Ryan Shirey and prosecuting attorney Sully Tesch, deviated from the script in their arguments. "I am always excited when kids deviate from the script and make their own interpretations . When they inherit the earth, they will take their body of knowledge and interpret it as their own."

"I thought this was fabulous," said McPolin fifth-grade teacher Heidi Westrop. "They have been totally engaged in the whole judiciary process." She said the next day they would be discussing the First and Fourteenth amendments. As the judicial process wound down for the McPolin students, several people took the opportunity to address the court one final time.

"I’d like to thank all members of the jury that voted Snow White innocent, said Shirey. "That really made my day." Student Jessie Smith addressed the court before departure. "Thank you bailiffs, and judges, for letting us come here and for teaching us things.

Judge Sadler addressed the students. "It’s obvious you have worked really hard. I see future lawyers, judges and jurors, but I’m not sure I see future defendants."

Lt. Kati Booth, of the Summit County Sheriffs Office, ended with, "We’ve talked a lot today about rights we have under the Constitution. How many of you want to come to jail and lose those constitutional rights?"


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