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AU News

Criminal Justice Students’ Day in Court

August 10, 2021
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Criminal Justice students in Dr. Michelle Doscher's class were taking part in a mock trial this past spring.

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A group of students from the Anderson University School of Public Service and Administration had their day in court, so to speak. 

At the end of the day, they walked out of the courtroom having gained valuable skills in critical thinking, speaking and persuasion.

Although it had hallmarks of the real thing, this was actually a mock trial—part of a class final exam in Dr. Michelle Doscher’s CRJ 399 class, Courtroom Testimony for Law Enforcement Professionals. 

Dr. Doscher’s students were instructed in courtroom demeanor and the preparation and execution of testifying as lay and expert witnesses. Professor George Ducworth, former solicitor and associate professor of criminal justice, cross examined the students while Dr. David Sollish, associate professor of theatre, played the role of judge. Theatre students played attorneys, jury members, clerk of court and bailiff.

It was realistic enough to be nerve-wracking, according to Dr. Doscher, who is assistant professor at the School of Public Service.

“The students realized there was no such thing as being over-prepared for a cross examination. A couple of my graduating seniors found techniques learned in the class useful during their job interviews,” Doscher said. “Overall, the class was a great exercise in paying attention to details—a necessity for law enforcement!”

Courtroom Testimony for Law Enforcement Professionals is part of the School of Public Service and Administration’s new concentration, Criminal Justice: Criminal & Forensic Investigations, which will begin in the Fall 2021 semester.

Dr. Doscher and her students are grateful to Anderson’s Court of Clerk and the Honorable Richard Shirley, former Anderson mayor and current clerk of court, for arranging the use of a courtroom for the mock trial.

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