Mock Trial Achieves Victory

MOCK TRIAL

Top photo from left: Olivia Bellero, Isha Dalal, Dario Arganese, Vanessa Woods, Annika Redgate, Elizabeth Wynne, Bella Ryder. Bottom photo from left: Devanshi Thakkar, Astonique Robinson, Emma Schober, Geethika Kodakara, Elena Kemper, Melissa Doran, Lauren DeNomme, Sarah Angelo, Steven Stanton, and Advisor Mr. August.

Rachel Tropp ’16
EE Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, December 10, the THS Mock Trial juniors and seniors attended a regional competition at the Waterbury Superior Courthouse. Just the previous week, the Futures team, comprised of freshmen and sophomores, won their competition, and the pressure was high for the upperclassmen, whose win would allow them to progress to the next levels of competition.

To prepare for this round, the Mock Trial students have been meeting regularly since October. The closer to the competition, the more frequently they met and the longer their meetings became. They needed to memorize speeches that, for some, were almost 20 minutes long, although they aren’t read all at once.

The day before the competition, the team could be seen pacing the THS hallways after school reciting their speeches and getting in last-minute practice.

Each trial is 2 ½ to 3 hours long, and includes an opening statement from each side, direct questioning of witnesses, cross-examinations with objections, and a closing argument from both sides. The teams are meant to each have 12 members, with 3 defense attorneys and witnesses as well as 3 prosecution attorneys and witnesses on each team. Since the 3 THS teams had fewer than the required 12 members,  some people played two roles.

The story of the trial revolved around obese, pregnant Renee Bennett, who drove to the hospital when she could no longer feel her baby moving. On the way there, 18-year-old Brock Suzik crashed into her car, killing her baby and paralyzing her except for her eyelids. The prosecution claims that Brock was drunk and did a hit-and-run, and because the baby was killed in the crash, he committed a felony murder. The defense claimed that the baby wasn’t moving and so it was dead prior to the accident, and that Brock wasn’t drunk or the one who caused the accident. The final verdict was up in the air, and whichever team had the strongest support would win.

The team was coached to greatness by Mr. August, Ms. Bradshaw, and Barbara Brown, the last of whom gave them great acting tips as they attempted to portray their respective roles.

Their opposition wasn’t announced until just before the teams had to compete, and both THS defense and prosecution had to win in order for the team to advance. Two THS teams, Team August and Team Tyler, won and will continue onto the quarterfinals.

Geethika Kodakara, a lawyer for the defense, said, “With each competition, it’s always so thrilling when we find out the team’s advancing to the next round. It’s definitely a lot of work, and we spend a lot of time practicing and preparing, but the payoff is incredible.”

The next round will take place in January, but until then, the victorious teams can rest and prepare.

 

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