Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — With a huff and puff, the Soldiers of the Legal Office, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command and the students of the Hale Kula Elementary School found the defendant, Mr. B. B. Wolf, guilty of all charges, here, recently.
Or, rather, they would’ve if the trial had been real, but this trial was all a demonstration to show kids exactly how a real courtroom operates.
“It gave them a chance to see attorneys in action and a few basic things like what trial even is,” said Capt. Erik Smith, administrative law attorney, 8th STB. “They see things on TV and it looks fun and exciting, but they may not completely understand what is really going on. We introduce to them the different roles and actions that take place in the courtroom.”
The mock trial commemorated Law Day, May 1, when the U.S. reflects on the role of law in the foundation of the nation.
This year’s theme is “No courts. No justice. No freedom.”
“This year’s theme deals with budgetary cuts,” Smith said. “As courts lose money, it’s hard for them to keep their doors open. As a result, many courts may find other alternatives to raise the necessary income by raising filing fees or furloughing their employees. These additional measures make it difficult for people to access the courts.
“So the greater idea of this year is that within the fiscal realm of cutting back the budget, we must be careful, because the courts doors need to stay open in order to provide justice,” Smith explained.
To make the mock trial fun and entertaining, 8th STB Soldiers decided to put a twist on a classic fairy tale.
“We all know the story of the three little pigs and the big, bad wolf,” Smith said. “In this case, the pig was the bad guy and was trying to cook the (trespassing) wolf.”
But despite all the evidence in his defense, the students delivered a guilty verdict for the wolf.
“The wolf was guilty because it’s not right to break into someone’s house,” said Sorenna Jean, a fourth-grade student at Hale Kula Elementary School. After all the discussion and deliberation, the real verdict of the day was fun.
“It was really entertaining,” Jean said, “especially the pig, because she had the funny walk and she even snorted. I could even see … all the kids were smiling.”
Smith agreed the mock trial was a lot of fun and all got lost within their roles.
“We were all having a blast,” Smith said. “The attorneys were adlibbing; I can tell you a lot of what was said was not in the script.
“At some point,” Smith continued, “the attorneys got personally invested in their clients and really tried to convince the children they were representing the innocent party. I can’t wait to do this again next year.”