News Ticker

A discussion of: Mock Trial

by Cole Romine, In-Depth Staff

Photo courtesy of: Krista Henneman

Mock Trial has always been a very competitive and intellectual activity that Leigh High School students engage in. Their season has recently come to a close, with the Leigh defense team placing in the quarterfinals. Defense attorney John Tsortos is a senior at Leigh High School and has been a part of Mock Trial for three years now, due to his liking of arguing. Mock Trial is an association conducted twice a week in the evenings in room 34, by Meredith Moseley and public defender Krista, as Moseley was busy with WASC this year.

Q: What are your strengths?
A: I think a lot of my strengths are definitely outside of the courtroom. I’m really good at piecing together arguments in a way so that you can really understand some of the connecting themes. In mock trial, obviously, sometimes your arguments can get complicated, so if you can break them down into easy themes, it seems better. I’m also really good at thinking of good questions to ask and bringing out ideas. In the courtroom, I’m not the best with objections, as that is one of my difficulties. But outside of the courtroom, I definitely think I shine.

Q: How do you win or plan to win?
A: It’s a team effort, obviously; we can’t really win without the team. So, the way we do it is that we just practice as much as possible. Since it’s a timed trial, we time everything before hand. It’s always good to prepare for objections. If you know you’ve asked a dangerous question, you can guess that it can be objected to, so being prepared for that always helps.

Q: Have you won any cases?
A: I’ve been on the defending team for two years. Last year, our defense team won both trials. Our prosecution went one on one. This year in the preliminary competitions, our defense team won both trials. Prosecutions went one on one again, but this time, our defense team lost in the quarterfinals.

Q: How exactly does Mock Trial work?
A: It’s essentially a fake trial. We’re given witness statements. At the start of the season, we’re given a fact situation. The facts the police reported and the statements they got from the people who were involved. The defense has four witnesses and the prosecution has four witnesses. Your team is gonna find a person to play each witness role. So they’ll memorize the whole statement, then testify as if they were that person. Each side will have three trial attorneys and they will have questions from their four witness, and the opposing team’s witnesses. The attorneys obviously conduct the trial. They’ll give the opening statement, kind of the main idea of what their argument is. Then we go through all the prosecutions, all the prosecution witnesses, all the defense witnesses, then the closing argument. There is an actual judge. There isn’t a jury, and the judge is the ultimate decider, but there are scoring attorneys. Winning the verdict of the case, whether the defendant is innocent or guilty has no effect on who wins the competition, because certain cases are skewed towards the defense or the prosecution, so it’s hard to make one perfectly equal.There is a pre-trial which is the last part of the team. So you’ll have one person argue before the trial starts.