“We the People” Simulated Congressional Hearings
Towards the end of every school year, Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson, along with prosecutors and other staff, participate as judges in the Howard County Public School System’s annual elementary school social studies program, “We the People” Simulated Congressional Hearings. The hearings are the capstone for the fifth-grade social studies curriculum in which students study American historical, political and constitutional issues. During the mock hearings, students testify, as expert witnesses, to demonstrate their understanding of the United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Students are judged by a panel comprised of public officials, community representatives, constitutional scholars, parents, and state and local curriculum experts who sit as a congressional committee holding public hearings within each participating school.
Mock Trial Program
The Howard County Bar Association sponsors the High School Mock Trial competition annually, and the State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to supporting this valuable program. Students from the Howard County High Schools dedicate many hours to competition. The students begin their preparation of the legal case, prepared by the Maryland State Bar Association, in the fall of each year. Acting as attorneys and witnesses in either a civil or criminal trial, students portray defense or plaintiff/prosecution and are scored on their performances by volunteer judges. The weeks long competition involves several trials from January through March. The high school with the best record at the conclusion of the competition then advances to the regional competition, and then often to the State-wide competition.
Many of the attorneys from the State’s Attorney’s Office volunteer their time to help coordinate the competition, mentor and assist the students in preparation for the competition, and preside over the trials as judges. State’s Attorney Richard Gibson presided over mock trials during the 2019 competition season as well as other Assistant State’s Attorneys including Deputy Josh Felsen, Jennifer Ritter, Amy Hott, Maurice Frazier, Stephen Yaeger, Bradley Bloodworth. In addition, several other Assistant State’s Attorneys, including Katherine Bagley, Amy Helbig and Natasha Blount, spend countless hours with the students as attorney mentors and coaches. (Header image: Mock Trial Program in 2019)
Guest Speakers in Our Community
Representatives from the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office are delighted to speak to your school, community association or organization. Please fill out the form below to arrange for a speaker to attend your upcoming event: