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Meet the Mock Trial Team

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Meet the Mock Trial Team

AHS Mock Trial

AHS Mock Trial

AHS Mock Trial

Emma Chen, Staff Writer

“Objection, Your Honor!” is a phrase you’ll hear often at the Mock Trial team meetings. Who are the members of this not-so-well-known team, and what exactly do they do?

Every Tuesday, members of the Mock Trial team meet to practice — but for what? This team participates in the Los Angeles (LA) County Mock Trial Competition, an activity created to help students gain real-life experiences of how a courtroom trial works and the roles of each job. Like the name implies, the competition reaches schools all across LA County. There are several rounds to pass, but it’s important to note that just because a team wins a trial does not necessarily mean they move on to the next round. The judge’s verdict is independent of how the attorney scores the teams. Thus, the team congregates in J-Building to get feedback from fellow teammates, work on competition strategy, and get some practice in.

On the Mock Trial team, members are responsible for their respective parts of the courtroom, as there are lawyers and witnesses. Witnesses need to memorize multiple pages of a given witness statement. During the competition, witnesses answer questions regarding their statement on the witness stand in front of the judge and attorney scorers. Now, who is asking the witnesses questions? Lawyers are to develop questions for their assigned witnesses — their side and the opponent’s side (prosecution or defense). Asking witnesses questions builds their story and presents their side of the case to the courtroom, while asking the opponent’s witnesses is to make them look bad to support your side of the case. In addition to the lawyers and witnesses, clerks swear in witnesses to always tell the truth on the stand, and bailiffs keep track of the speech times. Finally, there is the pre-trial. One person on the team argues the pre-trial debate which will usually establish some sort of premise for how the rest of the trial will happen.

The topic of the trial varies from year to year. For example, for the 2018-2019 school year, the case was People v. Klein, regarding the charges of false report of an emergency and criminal threat. Students arguing this case must have extensive knowledge on how a trial works. They must also develop creative strategies and stylistic speaking skills to help them win their side of the case. Junior Ye-In Kim says, “As a new member on the team, it was really scary figuring out how Mock Trial works, but the last competition was really fun. I really enjoyed being in the courtroom!”

The members of the Mock Trial team certainly work very hard to understand courtroom trials and win their competitions. Let’s give them a big round of applause!

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Meet the Mock Trial Team