Mock Case- On the Death Penalty and More

Julius Olavarria | June 9, 2024

All mock cases created via the Florida American Legion Boys State program. 

Case one (facts)

Several months ago, Michael, an eighteen-year-old student at American High School, entered the school cafeteria with three loaded guns. Shooting into the crowd, he killed four students and the school resource officer, and he wounded twenty-two other students.

The State Attorney charged him as an adult according to Florida law, and he pled guilty to murder and attempted murder.

The State Attorney then conducted a second penalty phase trial, and the jury sentenced him to death.

The Boys State Supreme Court will hear the appeal of the sentence to death.


Case two

The former Commissioner of Education enacted an Internet Policy for computers at all of the state's public schools.

To implement the policy, all public schools in the state must install blocking software that will block child pornography, obscene material, and material deemed harmful to juveniles under Florida law.

Parents and students brought an action to obtain an injunction against implementing the policy claiming it violates the students' First Amendment rights. The trial court granted the injunction, but the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court, removed the injunction and authorized the policy to take effect. The students appealed this decision to the Boys State Supreme Court.


State v. Michael T.

The Boys State Supreme Court stands on general human morality when issuing this opinion. Our philosophy is defined by one simple phrase: “One that takes the innocent lives of others has no right to his/her own.”

Michael T. knowingly and deliberately entered a place of learning, a place that should be kept safe from violence and death, a place of promise and dreams, killing four innocent students and injuring 22 others. American High School- a school that represents our country, freedom, liberty, and everything we stand for as a people- will be forever changed, will be forever marked by the actions of this young man, and will be forever haunted by his blatant carnage and brutality. There is no excuse.

The State trial court, following Florida law, ordered a grand jury of 12 citizens to determine the fate of this young man. In order to be convicted of Florida's death penalty, one must meet 2⁄3 of the presiding jurors (that is 8 out of the 12 jurors). Michael T. met this requirement.

We reaffirm the jury’s decision. We accept the trial, as no errors were made present in the lower court’s deliberation. A simple conclusion is made: this case not only aligns with our judicial system (the decision of the trial court) but our basic human morality, Michael T. committed an unforgettable and unforgivable action that he will pay for with his life. With this decision, we gain confidence in our legal system’s ability to give solace to those affected by crimes not just against common law but against humanity.


Students A, B, and C v. Commissioner of Education

The Boys State Supreme Court uses two tests to arrive at our verdict: 1) The “substantial disruption test” (as evidenced in Tinker v. Des Moines).

2) The “undue burden test” (as evidenced in Planned Parenthood v. Casey).

We must determine whether 1st Amendment rights are infringed. We must determine whether the school is justified in installing blocking software.

We come to the conclusion that the school is justified in doing so. Blocking software installed on school computers does not conflict with 1st Amendment protections.

Used in Tinker v. Des Moines, the substantial disruption test was used to determine if wearing armbands to school (which symbolized a protest to the Vietnam War) created a “substantial disruption or distraction to the students and the learning environment.” We can conclude that students visiting/browsing obscene and inappropriate websites, videos, or other online materials create a substantial disruption and distraction to students. This prevents teachers from maintaining a constructive learning environment.

Used in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the undue burden test can be applied here. The government must prove that there is a compelling interest to issue regulations, laws, and statutes. In this case, the government must prove that there is a compelling interest to restrict computer browsing and install blocking software. They must prove that this restriction doesn’t create an “undue burden” on the rights of students. The Boys State Supreme Court recognizes that there is a burden on browsing (and ultimately rights), but weighs this in contrast to securing a constructive learning environment. We find that securing a constructive learning environment is impossible if obscene, inappropriate, or deemed “harmful material” to juveniles is allowed on computers. Therefore, there is no undue burden and the compelling government interest is warranted and justified.

Abe Fortas famously declared that constitutional rights aren’t “shed at the schoolhouse gate.” The Boys State Supreme Court recognizes this integral fact to our country and our education system. Rights to browse the internet without restriction are recognized, but have no place in our schools. Anything that interferes with a teacher’s duty has no place in our schools.

The Boys State Supreme Court reaffirms the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s decision to stay the injunction.