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2003 Middle School Mock Trial Case Summary

State of South Carolina v. Tracy Johnson

Coastal Middle School is a small school in a little town twenty miles outside of Palmetto City where the crime rate is considered very low.

In March 2003, third quarter grades for Coastal Middle School were about to come out. It was at this time that the school's computer lab, or "bungalow" was broken into and vandalized. The vandalism consisted of a broken window, smashed computers, and red paint sprayed on the computers and the walls. It was later discovered that the school computer that stored the students' grades, also located in the bungalow, had been accessed. The grades of three students had been changed on the same day that the vandalism occurred.

Several students had reported that Kelly Stone, the computer teacher at Coastal Middle School, was a hard teacher. Tracy Johnson, one of Stone's students learned that s/he would be getting a "B" in Stone's computer class. This would be Tracy's first "B." Tracy was very upset because Tracy's parent insisted on a straight "A" report card every quarter. Tracy was known for being impatient with other students' lack of knowledge in computers and was vocal about those feelings. Tracy Johnson had also been heard calling Kelly Stone a jerk.

Tracy Johnson became a suspect of the school vandalism when it was discovered that one of the grades changed was Tracy's. Detective Marty Lane was called in to investigate the vandalism. Detective Lane identified Tracy as the likely culprit when a flashlight marked with Tracy's initials had indications of red paint debris similar to the paint used to write graffiti found in the bungalow. Further incriminating evidence was found in Tracy's locker. Tracy indicates that s/he has an alibi that can be corroborated by Tracy's parent and Bailey Martin, a friend, both of whom had personal knowledge that Tracy was home studying the night of the break in. The friend is now in Europe studying abroad. A witness, Leslie Richardson, reported seeing two people leaving the school grounds at the time of the incident. Tracy was arrested and was charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree computer crime, and a misdemeanor for entering a public building for purpose of destroying records or other property.