Grayson County Commissioners hardly even had to deliberate Tuesday before giving Sherman attorney Ed Richardson the verdict he wanted concerning his request to use county courtrooms for a competition.
At Richardson’s request, the county commissioners agreed to allow Austin College’s mock trial team to use the courtrooms in the Grayson County Courthouse and Justice Center to host a trial competition in January. Richardson, an Austin College alumni, said most of the mock trial competitions his team has been to in the last year have taken place in settings other than courtrooms.
He said he wanted something more for the second annual Austin College Kangaroo Brawl Mock Trial Tournament in January. One of the tournaments the AC advocacy team went to last year took it to a historic courthouse in Memphis, Tennessee, where the movie “The Rainmaker” was filmed, Richardson said.
“I happen to notice, watching my team and other teams, compete in that tournament, the pure joy that they experienced by actually getting to try one of our cases in a real courtroom,” Richardson said.
Richardson said he thought they could reproduce that feeling here in Grayson County for AC’s next competition.
“We have two of the most romantic, old style southern courtrooms anywhere in the state,” he said of the two restored courtrooms in the Grayson County Courthouse.
Richardson said the courtrooms at the Justice Center are impressive as well and he has already received interest from teams to compete at the brawl.
“It’s an opportunity again to bring in business for downtown Sherman over a weekend in January,” Richardson said, adding he received approval from the judges who use those courtrooms.
Richardson said having the courtrooms would make the Kangaroo Brawl one of the only invitational tournaments in the country hosted in actual courtrooms.
Richardson, who has been running the advocacy program at AC for four years, said he knew they would have to provide for security at the Justice Center while it was in use and that is not a problem.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers, who also graduated from Austin College, said he wanted to support the program. Commissioner Jeff Whitmire said if the judges were happy with the arrangement, he was as well.