bring a Hate Crimes trial to your school


In this free program, students act as jurors during a fictional trial arising from a violation of Colorado’s Hate/Bias Crimes Statute, and deliberate on the four counts on which the defendant, Patrick Witten, is charged. After closing arguments, students break into smaller jury groups to decide the verdict with the help of a volunteer facilitator. Students then reconvene to discuss diversity in their community, and the value of preventing the spread of racial slurs and hateful actions.

Any Colorado school, college, university or community organization with students who are in Grade 7 and up may sign up for a presentation from CLC volunteer lawyers, law students and other advocates. Because of the sensitive material, including realistic racial slurs that help illustrate what might be considered a hate crime, it is not recommended for students below seventh grade. Fifty students is the “soft” maximum per trial. Larger groups should sign up for multiple trials, which can be scheduled consecutively or concurrently on the same day, or on different days.

A minimum 120-minute block of uninterrupted time gives the students the best experience. We have worked within shorter time frames by cutting some of the material or going over it quickly, but this is not preferred.

Letters from 8th graders at Slavens Elementary School in Denver.

Letters from 8th graders at Slavens Elementary School in Denver.