Mock trial set in Roaring ’20s

Marietta and Washington County during prohibition was just as interesting as any big city at the time, with bootleggers and high speed chases through town.

Retired Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane has concocted a mock trial script based on news articles from the 1920s and local judges and attorneys will present the case to a crowd during the second annual “History on Trial,” a program to benefit The Castle.

The event has grown from last year to include a presentation just for youth earlier in the day on Feb. 19. This will include a question and answer period. The classic mock trial will take place later that same afternoon.

“We sold out last year and we wanted more people, and more children, to be able to experience this,” Lane said.

The one case will be based on three actual incidents, including an illegal underground still in Reno and a high speed chase which started on Front Street and ended with the sheriff’s broken down Model T near Fleming. Just as last year’s case tied into current events with the Black Lives Matter movement and racial tensions, a case about prohibition echoes current concerns with the opioid epidemic, Lane explained.

Public defender Ray Smith said he hopes to have a repeat performance of last year’s case, where he, as the defense attorney, was victorious. This year, he will be on the other side of the aisle as the prosecutor.

“It was a lot of fun but I love my job so everything I do is fun,” Smith said.

Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi will once again preside over the case with other area attorneys appearing as witnesses.

Kyle Yoho, education director at The Castle, said this is an opportunity to visit another historic building, the Washington County Courthouse, as well as look into the workings of our judicial system.

“This is something that we can extend out to the community, and get students interested in the history of the area,” he said.

The event falls on Presidents Day, a day when many schools are not in session. However, for those that are, this might be a good field trip for students.

“Any youth groups or schools that are interested should contact us about getting tickets,” Yoho said.

Cost for the morning

session is $5 for those under 18 and $10 for 18 and up. For the afternoon session, cost is $10 for Castle members and $12 for nonmembers.

On Feb. 15, there will also be a discussion by Marietta College history student Reece Nichols for the Third Thursday Talk on Marietta and its seedy history as a hotbed of illegal alcohol production.

The Third Thursday Talk is held at The Castle and the cost is $5 for nonmembers, $4 for members and free for docents.

If you go

¯ What: Third Thursday Talk: Crime in “Dry” Marietta.

¯ When: 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15.

¯ Where: The Castle,

¯ Cost: $5 nonmembers, $4 members, free for docents

What’s ahead

¯ What: History on Trail for KIDS: The Prohibition Cases of “Dry” Marietta

¯ When: 11 to 11:45 a.m. Feb. 19.

¯ Where: Washington County Courthouse.

¯ Cost: $5 under 18, $10 age 18 and up; reservations required.

¯ What: History on Trail: The Prohibition Cases of “Dry” Marietta.

¯ When: 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 19.

¯ Where: Washington County Courthouse.

¯ Cost: $10 members, $12 nonmembers; reservations required.

¯ Contact: The Castle, 740-373-4180.

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