Mock Trial: The Verdict is In

Nathan Cummings, Sr. Staff Writer
February 28, 2012
Filed under Student Life

Everyone loves a good courtroom drama, but some actually take it a step further and participate. Most high schools promote an extracurricular known as “Mock Trial”. This is an activity in which a group of students take on the roles of lawyers and witnesses, and in that capacity, they participate in a mock trial competing against other schools. They are given a case to study each year,  and then they start preparing arguments.

 A team is supposed to have two sides, plaintiff and defense, with each side having two lawyers and three witnesses. A team must have a bailiff/timekeeper as well, so a team can have up to 11 members. Each witness is given a part to play. They are given a statement to read and remember. It’s basically like acting a part in a play or movie. As for lawyers, their job is much more difficult. They have to prepare an opening or closing statement, a “direct” for one or two witnesses and cross examinations for one or two witnesses. To throw a wrench into things, teams can call up only two witnesses, and the other team doesn’t know who is being called until it is trial time.

This year’s invented case revolved around a man who was arrested, but the police didn’t use a warrant to access his records. The man, Storm Jackson, was under suspicion for stealing drugs from different houses over the course of a weekend. There was an investigation lead by witness, Peyton Thurber. He contacted Shannon Gannon, employed by Sprizon Wireless, in order to get Jackson’s cell records and GPS information. However, Thurber didn’t get a warrant, which is what this case is about.

Hubbard High School has two teams that participate in Mock Trial. Team Blue:  Captains Nate Moffitt and Anna Pedicini, fourth-year lawyers;  Shoshanna Kifer, third-ear lawyer;  and Danielle Bucci, first-year lawyer.  Nate Cummings, Kailyn Hill, Kat Foley, Jesse Record, Sam Mock and Chynna Thompson  were witnesses. Bailiff/timekeeper was Brian Lyons.  Team Blue Defense defeated Labrae in the first session and awards were given to Nate Moffitt for Outstanding Attorney and to Chynna Thompson for Outstanding Witness.  Team Blue Prosecution defeated Struthers Black, and awards were given to Anna Pedicini for Outstanding Attorney.

 Team White consisted of: Jessica Roller and Tabitha DiBacco as attorneys for both the Plaintiff and Defense. Their witnesses were as follows: Plaintiff: Christina Leckfor (Peyton Thurber), Sarah Juntenen (Shannon Gannon) and Cristal Hale (Drew King). Defense: Jenna Wise (Quinn Ruby), Lydia White (Sammy Delane) and Mackenzie Smiley (Jaden Fitzgerald). Each team had a bailiff and the two are Brian Lyons and Jenna Parkany.

These mock trial teams are led by Social Studies instructor, Mrs. Deborah Wack, and are guided by a legal advisor, Attorney Roland Marks. When Wack was asked how the team was doing she responded: “As stressful and as hectic as things get in Mock Trial, it is such an honor to be the advisor for the teams and to work with such brilliant legal minds,  to watch the students grow and evolve, and to share their triumphs and tribulations, all in the name of making the world safe for democracy!” Wack also commented that when the students have “epiphanies,” they ring a bell to celebrate, and this action has become a tradition.

Team Blue moved on to Regional competition held in late February at the Akron  Summit County Court complex. In order to advance, a team must win both sessions held at district competition. Two other teams from the district level joined Hubbard Blue. They were Struthers Red and Warren JFK Blue. Regional competitions are much tougher as the teams will include very prestigious schools with well trained debaters, such as Archbishop Hoban High School and St. Vincent/St. Mary’s High School.

Congratulations to all involved in Mock Trial who make this activity such an exciting and educational extracurricular!

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