Although Mock Trial has no court-held authority, it has come to signify a lot to those who participate. Wesleyan’s Mock Trial team has worked hard this past season, earning a place in 2017’s District competition and winning Regionals. Mock Trial is a court trial that has no legal bearing. Students can participate on the team as a witness or a lawyer, both of which provide lasting life lessons even for high schoolers.
“Mock Trial gives several different factors that are [going to] help in the education and further life of the students that do it,” said Emory Potter, ten year coach of the Wesleyan Mock Trial team.
“First would be the ability to stand up and talk in front of people. That is one of the major fears that is out there and you can’t not do that if you’re doing Mock Trial. You have to learn it. Second, you have to learn how to deal…with confrontation without getting emotional about it, and be able to keep your straight face and keep going is a very important thing to learn,” said Potter.
This past Sunday, Feb. 19, the Mock Trial team traveled down to The Fulton County Courthouse to compete in Regionals, a step up from District. Mock Trial consists of a Defense team headed by Zach Green, and a Plaintiff team headed by Sara Carmichael. Each team trained together in preparation to go up against other schools. All schools receive the same case and study it for months before competition.
“It’s really useful for people who want to go into law and [also] people who don’t want to go into law,” said Carmichael. “It always helps you know the general rules in law, it helps you know how to speak in public and how to present to a jury. It’s very good for critical thinking skills, it’s very good for thinking on your feet, and the presentational skills you get out of it are impossible to describe.”
This year, the Georgia Mock Trial case is about two young baseball stars with potential, until Joey beams Harper in the back of the head with a baseball, seemingly on purpose. The Mock Trial team argued their way into helping the jury decide whether Joey intended to hurt Harper or not. Should the jury rule in favor for Harper or Joey? Convincing them would earn the teams points in objections, witness portrayal, evidence, and overall theme. Although they hold no legal bearing and there is no final verdict, Mock Trial cases are held in real court houses, presided over by real judges in the profession, and are scored by a “jury” made up of working attorneys.
“Mock Trial leads to a greater understanding of the what is called the third branch of government in America, that being the Judiciary…and understanding [the Judiciary Branch] is important…If people don’t understand the law and the consequences, and why they’re there, and why they’re good for us, then they don’t understand their country,” said Potter.
After the Regional Competition, sophomore Patterson Beaman, junior Leandro Haddad and freshman Adam Rogers won awards for outstanding witnesses, while seniors Sara Carmichael and Zach Green won best attorney.
The team continued forward, competing in the District round on Sunday. After a valiant effort, each the Defense and Plaintiff won both one courtroom each, which meant that it came down to total scores. Although both teams did well, the total score was not enough to secure first place. Congratulations to the team for making it thus far, and to the members who have given all four years of their high school experience to Mock Trial.