The defense for longtime reindeer and member of Santa Claus’ beloved sleigh-pulling team, Vixen, was not good.
His trial, conducted Thursday afternoon at Almor West Elementary School, concluded following testimony from multiple eye-witnesses, including Mr. Claus himself, and the jury determined he was unequivocally guilty of “un-reindeer-like behavior” for ostracizing and bullying Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The students at Almor West helped the panel of reindeer jurors determine his punishment, sentencing Vixen to the maximum and suspending him from pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve to send a clear message bullying friends is unacceptable.
Fourteen volunteers from Teen Court, a group of local youth volunteers who try and sentence young offenders facing charges in the Comanche County juvenile courts, conducted the mock trial presentation before the elementary school students, playing the roles of the all-star reindeer team, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and the lawyers and judges who represented Vixen and Rudolph.
The case began when a group of reindeer were spotted laughing at Rudolph’s red nose, calling him names and shoving him in the barn prior to Christmas Eve. A concerned Dasher notified Santa, and Sheriff Rein Deere arrested the culprit Vixen.
Dasher and Santa both testified they witnessed Vixen shoving Rudolph and making fun of him, even though Santa said both reindeer are typically well-behaved. Dasher said this isn’t the first time Vixen has been mean to another, and the defendant said during direct examination that it’s okay to be mean to others “if they’re different.”
The victim corroborated all the testimony before the closing arguments. Both attorneys essentially concluded that what Vixen did was wrong, and he should be punished.
The audience agreed Vixen should face the harshest punishment and ordered him to serve four jury duty sessions, write an apology, perform 40 hours of barn cleaning service and attend classes on how to be a kind reindeer.