St. Amant High School Students to Participate in Mock Trial

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

St. Amant – On April 7, 2014, students and faculty from St. Amant High School will partner with Louisiana State Police, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the 23rd Judicial District Court to conduct a mock vehicular homicide trial. The mock trial has been organized in conjunction with a mock fatality crash that was held at the school on September 25th of last year, and will take place at 8:00 am in the St. Amant High School gymnasium.

Junior and senior role players from St. Amant High School participated in the September 25th mock crash that “resulted” in a death, a serious injury, and the arrest of an impaired driver. In an effort to reinforce this powerful educational message, the mock trial will utilize the same student role players and will place the accused driver in front of a jury of his peers on charges of Vehicular homicide, 1st Degree vehicular negligent injuring, Driving while intoxicated, and Reckless operation.

The Honorable Judge Marilyn Lambert from the 23rd JDC will preside over the trial. Jason Verdigets and Kenneth Dupatay from the Ascension Parish District Attorney’s Office will play the roles of the prosecutor and defense attorney. Numerous individuals will be called to “testify” throughout the trial to the life altering consequences resulting from the poor decisions made on the night of the fatal crash. Throughout the course of the mock trial, students will be taught that impaired driving has lifelong consequences for all individuals involved, including their school, family, and community.

This mock trial is an extension of the Sudden Impact injury prevention program conducted through the collaborative efforts of Louisiana State Police and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Sudden Impact provides testimony to the ramifications of driving while impaired from a medical, law enforcement, and victim perspective. The one day program for high school sophomores places the teens in an unfamiliar environment while providing education on laws, decisions, communication and impairment. Proactive educational initiatives such as Sudden Impact strive to reduce the number of underage DWI’s and serious injury and fatality crashes by promoting the importance of sound decision making and behavior.