Dec. 7, 2020 - High school students from Chinquapin Preparatory School won the championship round of the University of Houston Law Center's recent virtual Street Law 2020 mock trial competition. Students from Alief Early College were the runners-up. The Honorable Gregg Costa of the Fifth Circuit of Appeals served as the judge of the final round.
Other participating schools included High School for Law and Justice, KIPP Northeast College Prep High School, KIPP Generations Collegiate High School, Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men and Excel Academy Charter School: a Residential Facility of Juvenile Probation. There were 28 teams total.
"You all should be very proud of yourselves," Costa said in his closing remarks. "You all accomplished a great deal. Even if you don't become a lawyer, I hope you recognize the importance of the justice system, serving as jurors, getting active in voting and playing a part in our democracy. It all depends on talented young people like you. It was an honor to be a part of this."
The Street Law program was established in 2016 by Professor Ellen Marrus, director of the Center for Children, Law & Policy and the Royce Till Professor of Law.
"There were many changes in our mock trial this year – students competed over multiple days, for the first time we had youth involved from juvenile probation residential facilities, and of course, due to the pandemic all learning and trials occurred over Zoom," Marrus said. "Many attorneys have not been prepared for conducting trials virtually. Our Street Law scholars did an amazing job. I cannot wait to see them as true lawyers in the future.
"The legal profession needs to keep an eye on these young people. They have the potential of being future changers and shakers. Hearing from a young person who has been in conflict with the law themselves, hearing them understand how the legal system works, and them proclaiming that they found their voice and want to continue their education, get a law degree and represent young people in court summed up why this program is so important. It really does change lives."