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Hazen Students Visit Vermont Landmarks, Experience History, Enact Mock Trial at Supreme Court

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photo by Leanne Harple Hazen Union students on the Vermont Statehouse steps during a visit on May 1. Back row, from left are Jasper Regan and Manny Fliegelman; middle row, Greg Patoine, Juniper Book, Gracie Flanders, and Rebecca Fulford; front row, Megan Cane, Taylor Cloutier, Corey Maskell, and Brandon Tardif. 

HARDWICK – Nine Hazen Union students and two teachers traveled to the Hope Cemetery in Barre and the Vermont State House in Montpelier on May Day, Wednesday, May 1.

Next, students took the bus to the Vermont Supreme Court to learn about the justice system. There they engaged in a mock trial based on a real-life case in which a man was charged with DUI after pulling into his own driveway under the influence of alcohol, although his friend drove him home. He then switched seats with the driver as a police officer watched him stumble around the car and get into the driver’s seat. He then drove into his own driveway. He did not drive himself home from the pub intoxicated, but the police officer saw him stumbling as he entered the driver’s seat and issued the DUI. 

Students began their outing at the historic Hope Cemetery to learn about granite distribution while taking in the craftsmanship of the statues, gravestones, headstones, and mausoleums.

Nine students made for a perfect trial with five justices, two attorneys for the appellant, and two for the state. 

An “attorney” in favor of the appellant argued that the appellant was intoxicated on his own property, and as such was not endangering any other life in the process of pulling into his own driveway.

The “attorney” for the state argued that at any given moment, vehicles and persons belonging to delivery services, religious groups, the Girl Scouts, or even simple turnarounds were endangered by the appellant’s intoxication. 

The appellant’s “attorney” attempted to refute that argument by claiming that those individuals are never entitled to use someone else’s driveway, as a driveway is not a highway. 

photo by Leanne Harple
Hazen Union students enact a mock trial in the Vermont Supreme Court on May 1. Pictured from left are Brandon Tardif, Juniper Book, Rebecca Fulford, Greg Patoine, Manny Fliegelman, Taylor Cloutier, Jasper Regan, Gracie Flanders and Megan Cane

In turn, the state claimed that the individual’s driveway was classified as a highway since there were no signs or fences indicating that it was privately owned property, or that visitors were not welcome.

The five “justices” had time to deliberate on the facts of the case and come to their own conclusions. The appellant won unanimously, with all five “justices” finding in his favor and revoking the DUI charge.

Following the mock trial, students engaged in a self-guided tour of the Vermont Historical Society Museum. Clipboards in hand, they read and took notes about the local history of Vermont and the important figures and events that impacted it.

Students walked the halls of the State House on a guided tour to end their day. They took in the paintings, statues, and chandeliers, interacting with the state’s history. Finally, they observed a recognition ceremony from the balcony of the Senate Chamber.

Megan Cane is a Hazen Union community journalist living in Hardwick.

Megan Cane

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