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- 8th Grade 1st Place
- 7th Grade 2nd Place
- 8th Grade Honorable Mention
**Only Facts, Issues, Witnesses, and Witness Statements will be posted as they are the more crucial and informative aspects of the mock trial.
‘Tis the Season To Be… Jolly?
8th Grade 1st Place Winner
Quiet Court is a cul-de-sac situated in the suburban municipality of Twinkletown. Many of the residents of Quiet Court have lived on the quiet street for several years and enjoy the privacy that the cul-de-sac provides. One year ago, Nick Jolly and his family moved into a house on Quiet Court and at Christmastime put up a spectacular outdoor holiday light display. Twinkling lights covered his home, garage, trees, and shrubs and animated holiday figurines and a nativity scene lined Mr. Jolly's circular driveway. There were so many lights that Mr. Jolly rented an outdoor generator to supply enough power for all the display's electrical needs.
The display created such a sensation that people in the surrounding towns came to view it, parking their cars and walking along Nick Jolly's driveway to enjoy the decorations. At the end of the driveway Mr. Jolly placed a box for donations to the SMILE foundation, a charity that provides help for terminally ill children.
The residents of Quiet Court were not happy about the traffic congestion and the crowds of people that Nick Jolly's outdoor holiday display attracted to their quiet street. Jack Frost, a resident of Quiet Court and a neighbor of the Jolly family, expressed his concerns directly to Nick Jolly regarding the inconvenience and annoyance that Mr. Jolly's display created.
This year, Mr. Jolly has again put up his outdoor light display, adding some additional decorations. A local newspaper has interviewed the Jolly family and published an article about Nick Jolly and his spectacular free outdoor holiday exhibit.
The residents of Quiet Court are not happy about the increased traffic congestion and amount of people that the outdoor light display is again bringing to their street. They feel that the display is a nuisance, interfering with the enjoyment of their life and property.
Issue: Does Nick Jolly's outdoor holiday display constitute a nuisance?
Witnesses for the Plaintiff:
|Mr. Jack Frost, resident of 8 Quiet Court
|Mr. Will Control, police chief of Twinkletown
Witnesses for the Defense:
Mr. Nick Jolly, resident of 6 Quiet Court
|Ms. Anne Joy, resident of Twinkletown and visitor to Mr. Jolly's holiday display
Testimony of Jack Frost:
My name is Jack Frost. I reside at 8 Quiet Court in Twinkletown and have lived at this address for over ten years. I am representing the residents of Quiet Court who are unhappy with the traffic, noise, and crowds of people that Nick Jolly's holiday outdoor light display engenders.
Many of us on also put up lights and decorations to celebrate the holiday season. However, we never experienced the traffic congestion and crowds of people parking and walking around our street until Nick Jolly put up his display.
Last year, there were so many people and cars that it was difficult to get into and out of our street. Traffic was backed up onto the main road. On some nights, my wife and I could not even get our car into our driveway.
Traditionally I always invited family and friends to our home for a holiday gathering yet now this is impossible with all the lights, parked cars, and congestion. Cars block our driveway, there is no parking for our guests, and people walk over my front yard to get to the display. In addition, the noise of the generator bothers my wife and I. It is located on the side of the house near our bedroom windows and keeps us awake at night.
Last year, some of my neighbors and I spoke to Mr. Jolly about the inconvenience and the annoyance that his display generates for the other residents on Quiet Court. Sure the display is nice but no one who comes to see it realizes how annoying it is for the other neighbors. This year with additional figurines and lights as well as the publicity from the local newspaper article describing the free light spectacle, we are anticipating even larger crowds and even more inconvenience and annoyance.
Enough is enough.
Testimony of Will Control:
My name is Will Control and I am currently chief of the Twinkletown police department. Last year our department received various complaints from residents of a cul-de-sac called Quiet Court regarding traffic congestion and crowds of people due to a massive outdoor holiday light display on Nick Jolly's property. The traffic situation was described by one caller as resembling "a highway during rush hour."
I sent one of my police officers to the scene. He reported that not only were people parking their cars and meandering along Mr. Jolly's driveway but they were also crossing over on other neighbors' property. Wherever there weren't cars there were people. He noticed that several cars were parked illegally in front of driveways and he ticketed the vehicles. The traffic was overflowing onto the main road causing congestion so he took control of the situation by directing the flow of traffic.
After this, I continued to send one of our few night shift police officers to Quiet Court for the remainder of the holiday season to monitor the situation and direct traffic and people when needed. Since Mr. Jolly's holiday display this year is again causing traffic congestion, I have adopted the same policy as last year. This is a small police force and even one police officer assigned to duty on Quiet Court on a nightly basis makes a huge difference.
Testimony of Nick Jolly:
I love the holiday time of year. To me, the spirit of the holiday means lots of lights and decorations and the giving of gifts. Every year since I have been married, my wife and I have decorated the outside of our house. Over the years I have acquired quite a few moving figurines and enjoy adding new ones to my holiday collection. Two years ago, when we moved to Quiet Court, we were very excited about the bigger house and larger amount of property that we would now have to decorate. The large circular driveway seemed a perfect place to create a pathway for people to walk and enjoy my glass-encased holiday scenes such as Santa's workshop, the nativity, and Santa and his reindeer. Some of the animated figurines have been in my family for years.
The lights are so extensive that I need to rent a generator to provide enough electricity. I know this is an added expense but I look upon it as my gift to the community. I only operate the generator until 11 p.m. on weekday nights and until midnight on weekends. The display lasts from the weekend after Thanksgiving until January 6th. Many families love how I decorate the outside of my home. I have received many compliments and people tell me that they love coming to the free exhibit with their children. I do not accept any money to pay for the costs I incur.
However, since some people are so appreciative of my display, I have put out a box for donations to the SMILE Foundation, a charity that helps the families of terminally ill children. Last year, people donated over $1,000 to SMILE and this holiday season I hope to raise even more for this worthy cause.
The display is entirely on my property. To me, this is what the holiday season is all about – making people happy, seeing families enjoy themselves, and giving to the community and to those in need.
Testimony of Anne Joy:
I am Anne Joy, a resident of Twinkletown. Last year, I took my three children to the Jolly's holiday display and they begged me to take them back again. Due to a busy work schedule I did not find the time to visit again. But this year we have already gone twice, and each time I see the display, it seems to get better. My family absolutely adores Mr. Jolly's creation. Everyone is joyful and full of the holiday spirit. I have spoken with other residents of the community and they have told me that they also enjoy it. It is so popular that the local newspaper has written an article about Nick Jolly and the work that goes into setting up such a big display.
More people like Mr. Jolly are needed in this world. He gives of himself not only for the community but also to help the children aided by the SMILE Foundation. I myself donated to the charity when my children and I visited Nick Jolly's display. Mr. Jolly's decorations definitely put me in the holiday spirit!
Created by the following students in Mrs. B. Gallo's Social Studies Seminar class, in alphabetical order:Rohan Chatterjee, Lauren Deegan, Rahul Dewal, David Glickstein, Danny Jassal, Craig Knox, Sarah Lee, Sahasra Sambamoorthi, Jamie Schwartz, Daniel Scotto, Cecilia Sibony, Jennifer Smejkal, Laura Tesoriero, Jessica Uziel, Surekha Vuppala, Frank Wang.
Going, Going ... Gone?
7th Grade 2nd Place Winner
Mr. Homer Runn lives in the town of Left Field, on a quiet street called Cooperstown Lane. Mr. Runn resides with his wife and three children. He likes to play, watch, and coach baseball. He likes baseball so much he built a baseball field on his property.
In the beginning, he used the baseball diamond as a practice field for his children and their friends. He also played a few games with his own friends. They were amiable games where teams were not permanent and everyone really enjoyed themselves.
Soon, more people started coming and Mr. Homer Runn's baseball field gained popularity. As more people came to play, more people came to watch. During the summer, the field was constantly used. Eventually, Mr. Runn installed floodlights so baseball could be played at night. Games were now played both day and night.
Not everyone enjoyed the baseball frenzy. Mr. Runn's neighbors complained about the noise, garbage, lights, dust, increased traffic, and the parking problems in the neighborhood now known as Pitcher's Mound. Sometimes the baseball players trampled on the neighbors' property to retrieve foul balls and home runs. A home run once shattered a window of Mr. Wilson's house, a neighbor on Cooperstown Lane.
Mr. Homer Runn only wants to play baseball with his friends on his own property. However, some of the neighbors on Cooperstown Lane think the baseball field is getting out of hand. They want the baseball diamond removed.
Issue: Does Mr. Runn's baseball diamond constitute a nuisance and interfere unavoidably with the enjoyment of life or property of an average person in the community?
Witnesses for the Plaintiff:
|Mr. Dennis Wilson, a neighbor on Cooperstown Lane
|Mr. Ralph Wiggam, police chief of the town of Left Field
Witnesses for the Defense:
Mr. Homer Runn, resident of Cooperstown Lane
|Mrs. Louise V. Slugger
Testimony of Mr. Dennis Wilson:
I live next door to Mr. Homer Runn and his baseball field is very close to our mutual property line. Just for the record I have nothing against the sport baseball. I just have something against this field. At first, the field wasn't a problem, but now every aspect of it bothers me.
Frequently until 11 o'clock, people are screaming and cheering for their favorite team. Metal bats smashing into baseballs and cars driving away from the field at night create unreasonable noise. The bright lights cause a problem for my family. They are on late at night, sometimes until 11 o'clock. My little children now have trouble falling asleep because of the light coming through the curtains.
Occasionally, the kids go into my yard, and trample my flowers to retrieve foul balls. The balls fly farther every day. Once, a ball broke one of my windows.
Parking has become a huge problem. When I host get-togethers at my house, parking along the street is impossible due to the amount of people at the baseball field. This means my guests must park two blocks down and then walk to my house.
The amount of garbage created by the field is horrendous. Fans bring their own food and leave it all over the field. The wind picks it up and blows it all over my yard.
On dry, sunny days the dust is unbearable. The children cannot even play outside because of the constant dust being blown by the wind into their eyes. My whole family suffers. We deserve some fresh air on our property.
When I walk outside, I am ashamed of my neighborhood.
Testimony of Police Chief Ralph Wiggam:
People have been calling Left Field police department to complain about Homer Runn's baseball field. Complaints include lights, noise, garbage, dust, and traffic problems. Many of the callers sound very angry.
When Mr. Runn leveled his property for the baseball field, the runoff swamped the local farmers' land. The runoff has been ruining the crops that need a regulated amount of water. It's washing away the fertilizer that farmers spent large amounts of time depositing over their crops. In addition, flooding occurs in the streets when there are big storms. Before the baseball field was built, all water from storms would flow into a large ditch. Now, since the land is leveled, the water runs into the streets, rather than the ditch.
People have been calling our department to complain about these flooded streets. At the station, we have many more important things to tend to; therefore we can't take immediate action towards the field. Mr. Runn's field outweighs the ordinary and must go.
Testimony of Mr. Homer Runn:
I have loved baseball my entire life. I love the crisp air and the good old crack of the bat. The only thing I didn't like about the county Little League was the schedule. I believe that the players should play and practice whenever they choose to. The fields were either occupied or locked up, therefore, I decided to build my own field.
It was designed for the use of my children and myself. It is a leveled section of dirt in the shape of a baseball diamond with a large outfield. Although the end of the field is fairly close to the end of my property, balls do not commonly fly over the fence. I did not put up any bleachers, so the majority of the spectators were parents of the children who played.
The only lighting is the small floodlights that illuminate the bases and the outfield. They are normal house lights like anyone would put in his or her shrubs to light them up at night. I am present at every game, and make sure that everything is orderly and safe. I do not provide snacks, and I make sure that the correct amount of players plays a game at one time.
My field is not a nuisance at all. I believe Mr. Wilson just does not enjoy the great American pastime, baseball.
Testimony of Mrs. Louise V. Slugger:
My son is constantly playing on Homer's field. He enjoys every minute of the action. If he ever has a second of free time, you can find him on the field. Playing baseball keeps him in shape, and I am sure the situation is similar with the other children.
In addition to fitness, baseball boosts children's sportsmanship and self-esteem. Before the baseball field was built, my son didn't have any friends. The field has helped him interact with people that share his interests.
This field provides all these favorable aspects without disturbing most of the neighbors. The majority of my neighbors have been saying how nicely the field has turned out. The children are not only happy, they are exercising on a daily basis. Some people just can't appreciate how much Mr. Runn is doing for his community. His actions certainly don't appear wrong to me.
Created by the following students in Mrs. B. Gallo's Social Studies Seminar class, in alphabetical order:Gregory Epstein, Michael Ferra, Nimrod Grinvald, Tian He, John LaTona, Tami Lieberman, Katya Mamyshev, Megan McClellan, Sidhant Mehra, Daniel Nadel, Tracy Pho, Samantha Recchia, Henry Stankiewicz, Laurissa Yee, Gregory Yen, Geoffrey Yih, Albert Yin and Jennifer Yu.
8th Grade Honorable Mention
Mr. Buck Hunter is an avid deer hunter who has resided in the town of Peaceforal for his entire life, living in the same house where he grew up. For generations the Hunter men have all been known as great deer hunters and have always hung their dead deer on the same big, strong tree in their front yard before butchering them.
Recently a development of new homes called Pleasant Valley Estates was constructed in the fields across the street from Mr. Hunter's house. A school bus stop for the children attending the local elementary school is directly across the street from the tree on which Mr. Hunter traditionally hangs his deer. Last year, some of the children in the development became very upset since they could plainly see the gutted deer carcass while waiting for their school bus. Some of the residents of the Pleasant Valley Estates development mentioned to Buck Henry that they thought the sight of the dead deer was offensive.
This year, Buck Jr. accompanied his father hunting and together they killed five deer during hunting season. This was the first year that Buck Jr. killed a deer and he was proud to have his deer displayed from the tree in the family tradition.
Buck Hunter contends that he is doing nothing wrong by hanging the deer from the tree on his property. He has been hunting since he was a young boy and it is a family tradition to display their dead deer as trophies. Some of the new neighbors feel differently about the matter. They want the carcasses removed from the view of the bus stop and the development, contending that they constitute a nuisance to the community.
Issue: Does the hanging of gutted dead deer on one's own property constitute a nuisance to the community, unavoidably interfering with the enjoyment of life and/or property?
Witnesses for the Plaintiff:
|Prissy Dent, President of the Pleasant Valley Estates Homeowners' Association
|Roger Parent, resident of Pleasant Valley Estates
Witnesses for the Defense:
|Darren Spector, administrator for the State Division of Fish, Game, and Wildlife
Testimony of Prissy Dent:
I am the president of the Pleasant Valley Estates Homeowners' Association. This association consists of residents who live in the new development across the street from Buck Hunter's house. This community has approximately 125 homes with ten more presently under construction. According to the developer these additional ten houses have been especially hard to sell while the deer cadavers are hanging from the tree on Mr. Hunter's front lawn.
Last year at one of the monthly association meetings, some of the homeowners complained about the hanging gutted deer carcass. On behalf of the association I went to speak to Buck Hunter regarding the offensiveness of his actions and soon the carcass was taken down.
This year, Mr. Hunter hung five deer from that same tree, and even more people complained at a recent association meeting about the blood on the fur, the huge vacant chest cavity, the shredded flesh, and the ominous glassy eyes. Residents are mortified by the grotesque way the deer are displayed, hung by the neck with a large piece of utility rope. Some of the children believe they are in peril because Mr. Hunter has a gun.
Other people besides the residents of the new development are also upset. I spoke to Anne M. Alactivist, representative of the local animal activists living in Peaceforal, who explained how the sight of the hanging gutted deer violates her group's beliefs and how abhorrent they found the sight. Herb Avore, a vegetarian, is repulsed at the thought of killing, eating, or displaying helpless and innocent deer. Even people who eat meat explained to me that they are offended since they do not want to be reminded of how their food is hunted and/or butchered.
All agree that the concept of killing in their peaceful community sets a bad tone. The custom of hanging the deer corpses is offensive and interferes with the enjoyment of life and property in the community.
Testimony of Roger Parent:
My name is Roger Parent and I moved to Pleasant Valley Estates with my family from an urban area over one year ago. My wife and I wanted to raise our daughter Suzy in a peaceful, safe, and non-violent neighborhood.
Last November, Suzy came home from school crying. When I asked why she was upset she told me that as she got off the school bus she saw a dead deer hanging from a tree across the street from the school bus stop. When I investigated her story, I could understand her reaction. The sight of a deer gutted, hung from the neck, and dangling from the tree was a shocking and disgusting sight. The next day I walked Suzy to the bus stop and talked to the bus driver who informed me that many of the children had fearful reactions to the horrible sight.
I talked to other parents who agreed with me that this practice is upsetting and offensive. We were also concerned that a member of our community was in possession of a gun.
I spoke to Mr. Hunter about my concerns and the deer was eventually removed from the tree. I thought the matter had been resolved but this November instead of one deer there were five deer hanging in Buck Hunter's front yard! Suzy as well as other children are just as fearful as they were last year.
This matter interferes with my enjoyment of life as well as the lives of other parents and their children. I would like to be able to come to an agreement with Mr. Hunter but that does not seem possible without the court's intervention.
Testimony of Buck Hunter:
I have been living in the town of Peaceforal my whole life. I have been a hunter since I was a child and I am proud of it. My father and grandfather were both very skilled hunters and they taught me all that I know about hunting. I am in the process of teaching my own son how to hunt. As a matter of fact, I took Buck Jr. hunting with me for the first time this year and I am proud to say that one of the deer displayed in the front yard was shot by him.
I have always hung the deer from that tree. This practice is not new and no other residents of Peaceforal ever complained to me until the new development Pleasant Valley Estates was recently built. Hanging the deer is necessary in order to draw the blood from the carcass. If you didn't do this, the meat would spoil and not be edible. The deer are also a sign of my skill as a hunter.
The carcasses are hung on my tree on my property. All of my hunting is done legally, according to the rules and regulations of the State Division of Fish, Game, and Wildlife. I am not trying to insult people or scare any children. I need and use the meat from the deer that I hunt.
There should be no concerns about my possession of a firearm. I have a constitutional right to have a gun. My gun is legally licensed and kept in a securely locked container. I know how to properly handle and store my gun safely since I have taken a gun safety course.
Testimony of Darren Spector:
My name is Darren Spector and I am an administrator for the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game, and Wildlife. After I was subpoenaed, I visited Mr. Hunter's house to analyze the situation. He had a valid New Jersey hunting permit under New Jersey Statute 23:3-1c, and all of his deer were properly transported and tagged under New Jersey Statute 23:4-47:1 and 23:3-1c. By hanging the deer from the tree, Mr. Hunter is observing the health precautions involved in using the venison for food.
In conclusion, the defendant has followed all the necessary laws and precautions according to the state fish, game, and wildlife guidelines.
Created by the following students in Mrs. B. Gallo's Social Studies Seminar class, in alphabetical order:Stephen Alerhand, Tracy Ferra, Adam Hecht, Ruth Ellen Howard, Virginia Hu, Elizabeth Kang, Hyon Suk Kim, Daniel Landau, Gillian Levinson, Joshua Lubchansky, Casey Petenko, Courtney Schwartz, Pin Su and Ravi Verma.