Mock Court Case Links Biology, Legal Studies Students
This spring, Prairie View A&M University students enrolled in POSC 2143: Legal Studies and BIOL 3034: Microbiology participated in a linked experience that combined the study of law with the study science. Over the semester, students in both courses studied the case of Campbell V State of Texas (2009), where an HIV positive individual was sentenced to 35 years in prison for spitting on a police officer. At the end of the course, students participated in a mock trial activity where the students enrolled in the legal studies course acted as defense and prosecution, and students in the microbiology course acted as expert witnesses and consultants for the legal teams. To be successful, students had to build the best case for their side.
Biology Professor Dr. Quincy Moore said, “My students need to be able to explain scientific concepts to non-experts, and this activity allowed them to teach difficult concepts to the pre-law students. The students from both classes produced a great final product.”
Raul Martinez, a senior political science major, said, “The experience put to practice the principles learned throughout the semester in our legal studies class. It is a must-experience exercise for anybody interested in becoming a lawyer.”
This is the third year that Moore and Political Science Professor Nathan Mitchell collaborated to produce the experience for students. The students’ trial was presided over by Dr. Billy Monroe, the university’s constitutional law professor.
“Students gained valuable insights on teamwork, critical thinking, evaluating evidence, and a greater understanding of the legal system,” said Mitchell.