Mock Trial starts once again
BY SOPHIE LEWIS OCTOBER 31 2014
Court is now in session for Rose mock trial teams. Tryouts have been held and practice is underway. It is a new year, a new case, new teams and new a baby since the adviser, Mrs. Knight has just returned from maternity leave.
“This is my 13th year coaching, and I also did [mock trial] competitively in high school,” Knight said.
Knight has gotten Mock Trial working well after her 13 years of coaching but things will change now that there is a baby in the mix.
“We probably will just practice 2 days a week, rather than 3, until the week or two before competition,” Knight said.
Mock trial is just what it sounds like, a fake trial. The students involved must act as either witnesses, attorneys or both to plead their case as best they can.
“Everyone in the state gets the same case material and you prepare it as attorneys and witnesses, competing against other schools,” Knight said.
Last year, the Rose mock trial program had four teams competing. Out of those four, two teams were made up entirely of seniors; these two teams also made it to the state competition. These teams were ranked number two and three in the state after the competition was over.
“It’s really good for people interested in law because it lets you see if you really like it,” Knight said. ”For those who aren't interested in law, it improves your critical thinking, your writing, public speaking and teamwork.”
The mock trial case given to the students is either criminal or civil, switching off every year. A criminal case involves a crime such as murder or theft. A civil case, such as this year’s case, is usually a personal injury that caused serious damage and high bills where someone may have been liable for damage.
“The biggest difference as far as prep in a criminal case is that the burden is much more on the prosecution because they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Knight said. “They have to prove a lot more, whereas the defense doesn’t have to prove anything.”
Knight holds tryouts each year for mock trial. She makes sure that the students know that the tryouts are mostly to see if the students would put in the effort to make their team successful and to see who would be good on teams together.
“[Tryouts] went well; people were extremely well prepared,” Knight said. “That made it hard for me; I was hoping to cut back to two teams, but there were too many people who were qualified that I couldn't just cut.”
As a newcomer to mock trial, junior Elijah Lee said he is looking forward to the new experience.
“This is something I have always been really interested in,” Lee said.
Junior Sarah Bailey, who has done mock trial for two years, had some insight into being an attorney or a witness.
“Witness is fun because you get to be a person and have a personality and put your spin on a few things,” Bailey said. “With attorney you get to create questions and attacks that you use to develope your side of the case.”
Both Lee and Bailey seem excited for the new case but could not articulate why as simply as freshman Emily Robinson.
“I just like arguing,” Robinson said.
These four are excited to see how the case unfolds and are already waist deep in the material as they work hard to prepare for the competition in February. The North Carolina Advocates for Justice Mock Trial website encourages people interested in law to look into participating in mock trial in the future.