Local News

March 11, 2007

Partain practices prosecution at UVA

Lucy Partain claims singer Johnny Cash should have known better than to shoot “a man in Reno just to watch him die.”

Partain was ready to “prosecute” Cash — or at least the character he portrayed in the song “Folsom Prison Blues” — for first degree murder while trying out for the University of Virginia’s mock trial team.

Partain, an 18-year-old 2006 graduate of Dalton High School, “mocked” closing arguments in a prosecution of a fictional character, landing a spot on the university’s mock trial team as an attorney. The team will compete in the nationals at the beginning of April in Florida. The University of Virginia won the national competition last year.

“I am a huge Johnny Cash fan,” Partain said. “I had a hard time picking a character. Then, I guess, that song came on. It was a lot of fun, but I felt goofy doing it.”

Partain set up her closing arguments as if Cash’s attorney was using an insanity defense.

“I said he knew right from wrong,” Partain said. “I said his mother taught him not to play with guns.

“I used the line ‘I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.’ It was hard to keep a straight face.”

Partain, a first year student majoring in government at the University of Virginia, has been competing in mock trials with the college since she made the team in the fall. She participated in mock trial competitions in high school also.

This year Partain received an outstanding attorney award during one of the tournaments. She received several while in high school.

This year’s mock trial is a civil police brutality case, which is fictional.

A boy was shot during a robbery, but the boy’s parents are claiming the officer who shot him shouldn’t have been on duty. The officer has a previous history with brutality.

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