Discovering Justice Events

Mock Appeal 2023 Culminating Events

May 24th-June 6th | Courthouses Across Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Twenty-six mock appeal teams of Massachusetts middle school students will present their Fourth Amendment cases in front of a panel of judges and attorneys with their friends and family in the audience.

Grappling with the complexities of a case addressing the legal limits of a public school’s ability to search a student’s electronic devices, student attorneys are delivering oral arguments and fielding panelists’ questions – a difficult task for even the most experienced lawyer. In many cases, the panels have been divided on whether to side with the petitioner or the respondent, a telling sign that both sides were balanced in their presentations and theory of the case.

“Balancing students’ rights online with their safety in schools is an incredibly timely challenge. Our students start the program feeling very passionately about one of the two sides of the issue but over the course of the program they realize just how complicated and hard it is to figure out what is just,” said Mock Appeal Program Manager Luke Matys.

“These events are not only an opportunity for students to explore the topic, but they also allow students to gain the type of confidence you can really gain when answering questions from a federal or state judge,” added Matys.

Working with courthouse staff, Discovering Justice hosted ten Mock Appeal Events with more than 600 attendees at nine courthouses across the Commonwealth and one in Rhode Island for a Providence middle school. We appreciate the Moakley Courthouse, the Lowell Justice Center, the Providence Federal Courthouse, the Donohue Federal Building and US Courthouse in Worcester, the Framingham District Court, the Springfield Federal Courthouse, the Brockton District Court, the New Bedford Superior Court, and the Brookline District Court for opening their doors and supporting these events.

Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.