Judge James Horn, of the Delaware Justice of the Peace Court, and his wife, Joan Horn, were presented with the Justice Gene Franchini Golden Gavel Award at the National High School Mock Trial Championship, held May 17 in Athens, Georgia.
The award honors individuals who have “demonstrated exemplary dedication and commitment to the goals and ideals of the National High School Mock Trial program.”
James and Joan have been associated with the Delaware High School Mock Trial program since 2006 and the National High School Mock Trial program since 2008. James has acted as a scoring judge, evaluating the student participants in the competition, and as a presiding judge, where he oversees the mock trial proceedings just as a judge would do in a real trial. Joan has volunteered at competitions as a bailiff and a “runner” in mock trial proceedings where her husband was presiding, taking scoring sheets from the courtroom to the scoring room, earning the couple the nickname “Team Horn.”
James said he enjoys working on Mock Trial, not only to inspire and mentor the next generation of legal professionals but also because it helps him as a judge by keeping him sharp on courtroom procedures and the rules of evidence. He said he also remains impressed, year after year, with the high school competitors.
In 2017, James and Joan were honored in Delaware with the Francis “Pete” Jones Award, given by the Delaware Law Related Education Center, for their dedication to the Delaware Mock Trial program. This year they were nominated by Pete Jones himself — who brought the Mock Trial program to Delaware in 2008 — for the national Golden Gavel Award.
In his nomination letter, Jones wrote that James began volunteering more than a decade ago and “he has been an integral part of the judging panels ever since.” In addition, he said James and Joan have been an important part of growing and sustaining the Mock Trial program in Delaware by getting schools and attorneys in Sussex County to participate.
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