Town Municipal Court hosts mock trial

Municipal Judge Grace Dickenson overseeing the mock trial for CCAISD students

Photo by Lisa Morton

By Lisa Morton

Municipal Judge Grace Dickenson and Town of Van Horn employees hosted a mock trial on Tuesday.  CCAISD 5th grade teacher Thomas Turnbow brought his class to the cities meeting room which will now be used for court proceedings, to participate in the first ever scripted trial with speaking parts for each of the working parts of a regular trial at the city level.

Judge Dickenson introduced the courtroom personnel, went over how the Separation of Powers that relate to the Municipal Court, explained the difference between Municipal Code violations and State law violations, and went over the plea options and process.

Code Enforcement Officer Raquel Mendez explain the top 5 Municipal Code violations that she encounters here in Van Horn. Student Sebastian De La O volunteered and detailed an impressive impromptu response to Raquel’s question of why Animal Control is important.

Municipal Court Clerk San Juana Gamez then went over the “Characters in the Courtroom” so that students understood each person’s responsibilities.  The students then began reading the scripted Mock Trial provided by TMCEC, appearing to enjoy learning about the judicial process.

For their participation in the event, students received bags filled with goodies that were provided by the City, Ned and Elizabeth from TMCEC, Ruben and Rudy from TxDOT, Elena and Sabrina from TxDSHS, and Sarah and Veronica from Alliviane.

The following are Court Rules for public interest:

All parties shall be prompt in arriving for Court and in attending to Court business.

When addressing the Municipal Judge, stand a few feet back from the bench. Do not lean on the bench.

Please remain quiet in the courtroom.

Be respectful at all times to all persons in the courtroom.

No gestures, facial expressions, or sounds indicating approval or disapproval.

Cell phones and other electronic devices must be on silent mode or turned off before entering the courtroom.

Taking pictures or video with a cellular or electronic devise is strictly prohibited.

No gum, food or drinks allowed in the building.

Do not bring reading materials such as newspapers or magazines in the courtroom.

Remove your hat when entering the courtroom. Dress appropriately and do not wear any type of clothing which may have offensive words, slogans or pictures. (No tank tops, no midriff shirts, no shorts which show belly buttons, buttocks or underwear, no inappropriately ripped jeans.)

Half of the fine and Court Costs are due on the date of hearing for cases which are proven guilty.


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