There aren't adequate words to describe just how amazing our students were today when they began their mock trials in Second Life! Therefore, let me just show some chat logs from the opening statements today:
Trial One: The State of California V. Lennie Small
Bender Hillburn: Judge: Court is now in session
[7:29] Kim Hillburn: Prosecuting Attorney: I will initiate my part of this trial by saying that Lennie Small is guilty of the crime of strangling a young woman to death, who would also be unnamed. This is an act of second degree muder because Mr. Small intentionally murdered the young woman. He wanted the pleasure of touching something pleasant that he would do anything to fulfill this urge. On a Sunday afternoon, Mr. Small was in a barn on the ranch that he was employed on. All the other male workers, except the African American stable buck, were enjoying themselves from a very far away distance from Lennie's barn here his puppy was once living (he also murdered his pup). Why he decided to be all alone in a mischievous barn all alone you ask? I am not very sure, but soon enough Lennie's boss's son named Curley will receive grave news that his wife has just been mudered. Curley's wife steps into the barn and Lennie tries to hide the puppy that he kills just by holding it! Curley's wife, in much danger, allows Mr. Small to feel her velvety soft...
[7:31] Kim Hillburn: hair. Depriving of something soft to caress around his fingers, Lennie takes advantage of this wonderful opportunity and grabs Curley's wife's beautiful hair. He becomes so entangled in the wonder of it all that he slowly becomes more violent and vicious with his stroking actions and eventually strangles the poor woman to death. This is truly a horror story.
[7:32] Bender Hillburn: Judge: The PA has just given her statement. The DA will now respond.
[7:33] Butler Hillburn: Defense Attorney: There would be absolutely no point in Lennie being locked up in jail when he can't even understand what he did wrong. The two major incidents that Lennie has done were both by accident, he was nervous and afraid. Touching the woman's dress in Weed was just a matter of being scared. He is a poor mentally challanged man who did not know to let go of the dress after she screamed. The death of Curley's wife was also not done intentionally. Lennie doesn't know right from wrong and he absolutely doesn't know his own strength. He would never guess that by holding someone's mouth closed so they don't speak, he would kill the person. Once Lennie started to hold her neck, he didnt know what to do so he didn't let go. Lennie's brain does not think like we do and it is hard for him to understand certain aspects. Could you ever imagine putting a young second grader behind bars? Well, that's what you would do if you put Lennie in jail. He has the mind of an elementary school child."
Of Mice and Men -- Lenny
[8:44] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: everyone please be seated if possible.
[8:46] You: Bailiff instructions: To sit, use your cursor on a pillow, right cilck and select Relax
[8:48] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: Is everyone here that needs to be here?
[8:48] Rawiszer Hillburn: Yes I believe so
[8:49] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: Court is now in session. Would the Prosecutors like to make their statement?
[8:49] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecuting attorney-Opening Statement: Lennie has a second grade mind with the power of ten men. Those two don't mix! Lennie is a murderer and a danger to society and everybody around him. Lennie should be locked up for first degree murder or even the electric chair. It's just like a drunk driver. You don't mean to hurt/kill someone but it happens. Lennie needs to take responsibility for wht he's done and learn from it. Lennie should not be trusted alone or near everyday soft items. How is Lennie supposed to remember not to do this again if he can't even remember a simple command to keep quiet. He is a major threat, especially to women!
[8:51] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: Thank you for presenting your opening statement. Does the defense have anything to say?
[8:51] Kostrinsky Hillburn: Da-opening statement In the case of Lennie Small verse The State of California, I will be able to show to the court of law that Lennie is unaware or incommptance of his actions. His low IQ gives him the intelligence of a second grader. His unawareness of these violent actions are reasons to let go of these charges. Lennie is a non violent person and he didnt mean to commit these actions. I beg the jury to drop all of these charges on the case of Lennie Small.
[8:52] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: Thank you to the defense, Would the prosecutors like to explain what has happened leading to today?
[8:54] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor- I would like to call up George your honor
[8:55] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: Permission is granted. George milton is called to the stand. Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
[8:56] Mccormick Hillburn: so help me God
[8:56] Brooker Hillburn: You may begin your account.
[8:57] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor- So why did you leave Weed?
[8:58] Mccormick Hillburn: George: Lennie had ripped this girl's dress because he liked the way it felt. He was accused of rape by her.
[8:58] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor; So Lennie is a wanted man?
[8:58] Mccormick Hillburn: George: You could say that.
[8:59] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor; Has Lennie ever killed anything like animals?
[9:00] Mccormick Hillburn: Yes. He squashed some mice by accident. He never ment any harm though. He just pet them too hard
[9:00] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor: What did Lennie want to do more than anything?
[9:00] Mccormick Hillburn: Tend the rabbits on our little house that we dreamed of getting.
[9:01] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor: That's all he talked about so to reach his goal he would do anything even if it means hurting someone?
[9:02] Mccormick Hillburn: George: No. Hurting someone doesn't have the same meaning to him as it does to someone like you or me. It wasn't something he thought about.
[9:02] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: These things seem to have no relevance to the issue in this discussion. Would the Prosecutors like to ask a relevant question instead of beating around the bush?
[9:02] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor: Do you think Lennie only thinks about himself? He was willing to gag someone to get what he wants?
[9:03] Kostrinsky Hillburn: DA: Thank you, your honor
[9:03] Mccormick Hillburn: No. in fact, he's offered to leave me before and live in a cave by himself so that i would be happy/
[9:04] Sackler Hillburn: Prosecutor: May I please call this witness again tomorrow?
[9:04] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: Was the defense permitted to make a statement? Kostrinsky?
[9:04] Kostrinsky Hillburn: DA: i agree to return tomorrow your honor
[9:05] Califano Hillburn is Offline
[9:05] Brooker Hillburn: Judge: All right. Court is adjourned for this evening
[9:05] Villari Hillburn is Offline
[9:05] Kulbaba Hillburn is Offline
[9:05] You: All Rise
These are just two of the chat transcripts (taken in world by our Court Reporters) We have four classes conducting these trials and each class is divided into 2 separate trials. One is putting George on trial for the murder of Lennie and the other is (changing the ending of the book so that Lennie lives) putting Lennie on trial for the murder of Curly's wife. So, in total there are eight trials going on and I will publish the daily accounts and verdicts as I can.
On a teacher management note: My big goof was that while building the initial courthouse I made a huge building with two separate courtrooms within. I realized just in time that the wall I built dividing the two courtrooms would not prevent the two trials to be included in the same chat ! DUH! (I was applying "real life" rules to SL - thinking a wall would block out sound! LOL) So, I hastily built a second courthouse in another area of the islands (20 meters away to prevent the chat from being seen by both groups)
Also - the kids had a great deal of pre-trial preparation and they did it in earnest! The opening statements were prepared beforehand (as I imagine they would be in a real trial) and the witnesses were interviewed by the attorneys prior to the trial as well. The court reporters prepared some notecards in order to drop the day's transcript into the teacher's avatar's inventory (after editing them for spelling and grammar!) Can't wait to see what happens today!