Thirty teams of high school students from across the commonwealth argued the case of United States of America v. Cassius M. Clay in hope of scoring a knockout in the Kentucky High School Mock Trial Tournament. The March 5-7 tournament featured four rounds of competition taking place at the Jefferson County Judicial Center.
Louisville is the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, who was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in 1942.
Madison Central High School took top honors in the competition. Dupont Manual High School, Highlands High School (White Team), Louisville Collegiate, and Highlands High School (Blue Team) rounded out the top five, respectively.
Ryne Weiss (Madison ’10) was honored as Best Team Attorney. Maggie Matheny (Lincoln ’10) was honored as Best Team Witness.
Additional Gatton Academy team members included: Natalie Schieber, Ben Howard, Madeline Lauzon, Corban Coffman, Michael Phillips, Suzanne Van Arsdall, and Anthony Bombik.
Madison Central will represent Kentucky at the National High School Mock Trial Tournament in Philadelphia in May.
In the competition, teams act as the prosecution and defense in the trial of United States of America v. Cassius M. Clay. In 1967, heavyweight boxing legend Ali – then named Cassius M. Clay – was charged with knowingly and willfully refusing to report for and submit to induction into the U.S. Armed Forces (draft dodging), a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. This was during the Vietnam War. Prior to this, Ali had applied for conscientious objector status but was turned down. He was convicted on the charges and appealed his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. On June 28, 1971, the court unanimously reversed the original decision. Ali’s request for conscientious objector status was honored and all charges against him were dropped.
Court of Appeals judges, circuit and district judges, attorneys and law students presided over the competition rounds.
The 2010 Kentucky High School Mock Trial Tournament was hosted by the Kentucky Court of Justice with support from the Muhammad Ali Center. The Muhammad Ali Center teamed up with State Farm Insurance, the Kentucky Bar Association, Yum! Brands, the University of Louisville Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice, and Paul A. Casi II, PSC, to sponsor special tournament events.
Since its inception in 1983, more than 12,000 students, 1,500 judges and 3,000 attorneys have taken part in the Kentucky Mock Trial program. It is one of the many law-related education programs offered for youth through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort.
For more information, contact Corey Alderdice at (270) 745-6565.