By Alison Torres
Attorney Melanie Hernandez is presenting her opening statement. “We’re here today as we sit here mourning the loss of Chassity Barnes’s young life due to someone’s selfish and thoughtless actions, because that’s exactly what this is. When the defendant decided to sit behind the wheel after a night out drinking with his friends, he was being selfish.” says delegate Hernandez as the opening to her speech.
Delegate Nikki Desai begins her opening remarks, “Good morning your honor, my name is Nikki Desai and I’m here with my partner on the behalf of the defence. On June 30th, 2018 the defendant went through a few bumps, had some laughs, made some memories and proceeded to drive as usual, only to be distracted by an old lady following him, one who wasn’t even wearing her prescription glasses while driving.”
Delegate Stephanie Gonzales answers questions as Imani Haynes being a witness of the crash. Prosecution asks delegate Gonzales, “what did you see before the crash?” She replies, “before the crash I saw that there was a vehicle swerving in between the left and right lane.”
“What did you do after seeing this?”
“After viewing this I called the police.”
“What happened after the crash?”
“After the crash I pulled over and went to go check on the passengers, I noticed there was this severely injured girl,” says Stephanie Gonzales.
Prosecution is attempting to enter Emerald Hayne (played by Gabriel Magee) as an expert in chemistry with the specialty in blood analysis. The Defence (Nikki Desai) states, “this is far too broad for this to be entered as expert analysis. Furthermore, delegate does not reach two out of the five requirements, there’s no record to show how long he’s been working, therefore, he does not meet the experience required to be an expert.” The judge rules him as an expert in chemistry with specialty in blood analysis.
Attorney Jenelle Murata questions Urban Rhodes.
“Is this a receipt from the bar that you work at?”
Rhodes responds, “I don’t recognize that document.”
Prosecution attempts to put the receipt into evidence, the defence objects, delegate Aanika Kashap states “My witness has not been able to validate the authenticity of this document therefore it is not admissible into evidence.” The judge decides to enter the receipt into evidence.
Urban Rhodes is a bartender at the bar that the group attended the night of the crash.
“And you gave him three shots of whiskey correct?” asks the prosecution attorney Jenelle Murata. He replies with “I gave him a round of shots.”
The prosecution follows up with “how many is a round of shots?”
Finally Rhodes replies with “Three shots.”
Delegate Erin Crittendon, playing Dr.Sidney Tate, is being questioned. She is a vital part of the defense since she’s the one that took the measurements of the alcohol level in the defendant.
“What field is your PhD in?” she was asked.
She responds with, “In Education.”
Prosecution then asks “So it’s not in biology or chemistry?”
She responds no.
Officer Jordan Cole is being questioned as the prosecution tries to put something in evidence. “No it has not,” says Officer Jordan Cole while being questioned if her SFST paperwork was tampered with. The paperwork gets entered into evidence as exhibit “a.”
Defence Attorney Jerell Moody is questioning a witness when he gets interrupted by the prosecution. Moody asks, “when he (the defendant) asked for an attorney why wasn’t he given one?” The defence is then interrupted by prosecution with an objection, the defense is asked to restate their question.
“Will everyone please stand as the judge walks in.” says bailiff Alex Horton. All delegates rise and the court is started. The attorneys are asked if they are ready to begin and the witnesses go under oath raising their right hand to promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
By Nathan Henderson
A collection of photos from Nathan Henderson taken on January 26, 2019. All photos were taken during the YMCA Youth and Government state conferance.
The Chamber Commences
The Chamber of the 72nd YMCA Student Legislature commenced in an orderly fashion on Saturday, January 25, 2018. Led by the senate chairs, deliberation continued until 5 pm where the senators ajorned and returned to the hotel. Five bills were proposed varying in subject material greatly. Overall, the senators sparked continuous debate on the proposed bills.
Introduction into the First Bill
Proposed by Caleb Zhang, bill FS062 states, “an act eliminating automatic addmissions requirements at all public universites and declaring an emergency.” Senator Caleb Zhang started his speech with an explanation of the bill as well as additionally giving background information to why the bill was written. He states that “universities should consider a more wholeistic view of a college application.” This would promote equal opportunites for all students by allowing for universities to consider the whole application of the student.
The Arguement Begins
Senator Zhang provided research for his arguement. He stated in his opening remarks, “colleges must admit the top ten percent to university.” Zhang continued to illustrate his point by saying that automatic admissions do not properly take into consideraton the merit of the student. He said that automatic admissions only focus on grades and not on SAT score or other forms of student academic achivement. Other than helping students get admitted into universiies, Senator Zhang argued otherwise.
Senator Lily Sethre-Brink took to the stand to explain her opposition to the bill. Her arguement was that low income students have more obligations. Frankly, low income students will not have enough time to complete extracurricular activites to go on their transcript. She said that the bill favored higher income students who had more reasources to gain extracurricular activties on their transcript. Therefore, Sethre-Brink rallied for the opposition of this bill.
The Farabee Senate passed Senator Caleb Zhang’s bill to do away with automatic admission to universites. The Senate thought the bill proper to the issues that were revelent at the time. After over two hours of deliberation, the bill was passed.
The Second Bill
In a bill proposed by Senator Abel Macias, the senate debated a bill saying, “an act regulating the capacity the capacity of ammunition held in gun magazines and declaring an emergency.” Senator Macias gave numerous details supporting his claim, one of which was the Las Vegas massacre. Senators showed their passion for the bill and deliberation continued for well over an hour. The delegates attempted to ammend and change the bill but in the end, it did not pass.
The Debate on Gun Control-Bill was not passed
Throughout the debate, the senators deliberated on numerous aspects of the bill, as well as trying to make amendments. One of the most common issues that surfaced was the effectiveness of the bill. Senators debated whether limiting the magazine to only fifteen bullets would accomplish the decline in mass shootings. The senators eventually agreed to fail the bill.
The next bill discussed charges against people who accused others of false rape charges. Those who were accsued would end up facing the same charges of purgery. However, too many admendments were attempted and the punishment was raised. Therefore the bill failed.
The bill itself took well over an hour to be deliberated. All senators who raised their voice in either favor or disgust tried extremely hard for their way to come to fruition. The intent of the bill was good; however, it was not passed.
Overall in the Farabee senate, the senators showed great activity and energy while debating the bills. Throughout the trials, individuals competed hard and strong to show their opinion in all of the bills that were proposed. Numerous bills were proposed, and all delegates showed their standing in the matters present.
By Karxyriah Ashley
Hard-work, preparation, and dedication. At the 72nd Annual Youth and Government State
Conference held in Austin, 41 Judicial District Court Teams from schools all over Texas came together to compete for a chance to go to Nationals.
Throughout the day, the blood, sweat, and tears that each team put into preparing the court case was showcased during mock trials.
Although, by just watching the trial, the sheer difficulty of playing a witness, attorney, or bailiff, might go unnoticed, it has been a long and hard road for many teams to get to this point.
One team from Dripping Springs High School had months of morning practices and even did last minute practicing in the elevator to make sure they were even more prepared.
Even though, due to scheduling, they had to do a lot of individual and last minute practicing, “in the end we pulled it all together,” said delegate Gabriel Peeples from Dripping Springs.
“Based off the critiques from the trials we’ve been in I think we have a good chance of going [to Nationals],” said Peeples.
For Peeples, the hardest part about this year’s case was “clearing up with the attorneys a lot of different questions and how to answer if the opposing team asks unexpected questions.”
However, overall, “I enjoyed working on this case because there’s a lot of different angles and ways to approach it at for either team,” said Peeples.
Another hard-working team from Hays High School had began meeting in August to “go over the case, read through the affidavits, and come up with questions for defense and prosecution attorneys so we could help each other,” said Preston Jones.
“The hardest part Isn’t always going over the facts but thinking about what is the other team going to say or what someone else is going to think of that we have never met before,” said Nick Muller of Hays High School.
However, after all is said and done, “I personally enjoyed working on this case because it was a lot more challenging for the prosecution and that made it more interesting, said Jones.
Although every team can’t be in the top, no matter what happens ever team competed today knowing they performed to the best of their ability.
By Sarah Roy
After a full day of hard work students competing in the Youth and Government State Conference took a break from the nitty gritty to relax from the diligent nature of the day. With many activities throughout the hotel, delegates were given the opportunity to cut loose and mingle with fellow delegations.
Students attending the conference worked hard and remained focused on the tasks that they were assigned to throughout the day. It was understood that the work being done was highly comprehensive and not easy. Activities were set up for the students later that night, allowing them to get a well-deserved break after a long day. While these activities consisted of simple things, such as board games, and arts and crafts, it was still a great chance for everyone to let go and spend time with friends. From playing card games, like spoons, to getting comfortable and watching Jumanji, there was something for everyone to do. There was even karoke, in which some people got so into it that when the music was cut, they continued to belt lyrics from Hamilton. A good time like this was necessary as it provided students with a little fun over a weekend soley focused on their political involvement.
“It was nice to be able to just hang out. Everyone was being silly and it was a lot of fun,” a student said.
Not only were the events planned a good way to help students relax, but they also provided the districts with a good opportunity to interact with one another. With five different districts attending the conference, there was a very diverse group of students, all with diverse backgrounds. The opportunity to meet people with different interests and characteristics is a wonderful experience and the fact that they’re coming together for a weekend to share the things that they’re passionate about with equally as passionate people is remarkable.
“I didn’t really think that I would end up hanging out with people who weren’t in my delegation, but I ended up meeting a few people from other delegations that I wouldn’t mind keeping in touch with,” a student said.
The students attending the conference understand that what they’re doing is important work and an amazing experience to have. It’s even better though when they get the chance to lay back and have fun. With multiple opportunities for knowlede and political involvement along with the activities provided and new people to meet, it makes for a well-rounded weekend.
By Simone Lee
Jared Walters, a county court judge has been doing youth and government for three years now and has seen the judicial branch at its peak and at its low points.
“I believe the judges are not objective. They seem to lean towards the verdict that is their opinion,” Walters said.
Walters believes that we need judges who were not only better trained but that prove to be objective. Most judges are juniors or seniors in high school.
The opinion of Jared Walters seems to be shared by other delegates as well. Allyson-Lynn Naylor, a senior from Westwood High School, shared her perspective.
“This problem has been going on since I started doing judicial, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed, it has been in fact,” Naylor said.
Now, a lot of people want changes to the judicial branch and they want it quick. When the Westwood High School Judicial team was questioned about it, many of them felt that it was so hard to love a branch that has so many issues.
“I love Youth and Government, it’s made me consider actually wanting to be a lawyer,” Westwood delegate and judge Grady Mack said. “However, I do believe that judicial has so many issues that really need to be addressed and resolved efficiently.”
By Qandeel Suleman
Many of the delegates of the State Affairs General Assembly are current first years of either the State Affairs section or Youth & Government itself. Some of these delegates simply believe that the State Affairs Forum would be an interesting section to participate in.
Amir Kinnare, a sophomore from Imagine Academy of the Dallas district, expanded upon as to why he chose to participate in the State Affairs Forum along with his first experience of a Youth & Government State Conference.
Delegate Kinnare, in his first year at the State Conference, expressed that he chose to participate in the State Affairs section.
“I enjoy hearing other people’s opinions and learn from them,” Kinnare said.
However, he did feel as though this was an intimidating section because of how nervous he is when talking in front of his fellow delegates, yet he keeps going. According to Kinnare, he “fakes it ‘till he makes it.”
The delegate’s proposal was not a part of the General Assembly because it did not pass through the Second Committee. Delegate Kinnare elaborated how his group’s proposal was on creating a space force in order to provide protection against any outside forces such as meteors.
However, during the Second Committee, Delegate Kinnare believed that his proposal did not pass due to his group and his lack of confidence and lack of research. He plans on improving next year in order to present a proposal of his own in the General Assembly.
Many delegates agree with Kinnare that the first year is rough on your own when approaching the stand to talk and think quickly in order to influence your fellow delegates and voice your opinion. On the other hand, they do believe that the State Affairs section is a place to learn, grow, and enjoy your time in Youth & Government.
By: Filip Ivanis
A bill by Gabriel Letcher was “highly controversial,” Mrs. Talley said. The author didn’t give much information and, accordingly, delegates had many questions and amendments.
The bill states that if a minor commits four misdemeanors they are eligible to go to juvenile jail. Misdemeanors could range anywhere from getting a ticket for crossing a street in the wrong place, to certain drug crimes with small amounts of a controlled substance, and weapon possession offenses.Federal Criminal Defense Attorney can help you in case of malicious prosecution.
“This would mean that a 13-year-old who stole a five cent bubble gum and a 17-year-old drug addict would be treated the same,” said an amendment author trying to precisely define offenses covered by this bill. In such situations, hire drug crime lawyers who can give legal counseling and find the best solutions for your case.
Another amendment was made to the bill. It changed the destination of these minors from jail to a juvenile detention center, “to the provide education minors need”
There were four other amendments debated, two of them “really similar” as pointed out by delegates. “They were both just focusing on the change in age at which the bill will be applicable” commented one delegate.
Some stated that “If a minor has been punished three times already, the fourth time is honestly too much, and a detention center is fair.” However, others asked, “If the minor has been punished three times already and nothing has changed, what is the point of taking the minor outside the education system and straight to jail?”
The opponent speaker made a statement that “The bill is too straightforward and it skips over the details like they had no time to be considered. There is nothing in this bill that stops a death sentence to be issued, and no minor should be sentenced like that.”
Proponents were pointing out that “This bill will drastically help Texas by discouraging criminals, even if they are only children.”
The opponents had combated the proponents with statements as “This bill isn’t completely clear, and it sets no limits for the punishments.”
The opponent which the delegates agreed with the most was Jalen Lake. He said, “I believe this bill will destroy young minority communities. This bill is an undercurrent and it doesn’t prevent some judge to sentence a minor to 30 years in prison where they should only serve 5.“
After more than one hour of debate, the bill didn’t pass, with three people voting aye, while everybody else voted nay.
By Sierra Jackson
Delegate Mihir Nakra from Centennial High School in San Antonio, Texas is a member of the Legislative Hyde House.
This year was his first time in the Youth & Government program.
“I’ve really enjoyed State so far this year. It’s really been interesting and helpful for me, ”Nakra said. “YG gives you so much more insight on what actually goes on in the government.”
Nakra said that he was actually nervous about his bill at first. “I was nervous at the beginning, but when closing summations came around, I knew what I was going to say, and I said it, and it was good,” Nakra said.
Nakra had his bill passed today in committee. His bill was relating to the necessity of prerequisites when purchasing long arms of handguns. He had many proponents and many opponents on his bill.
“I was kind of surprised that the committee approved my bill,” Nakra said. “They came at me with some really hard questions, and I tried to answer to the best of my ability. There were 300 mass shootings in America in 2018, and it is really a big problem. We need gun control and this is just a small step in the process.”