In any case…

Freedom student and New Brighton students rise in mock trial competitions

Ava Colorito, Staff Writer

Wouldn’t it be nice for students interested in law to explore the career before studying it for eight years and possibly changing their major? Students throughout Beaver County actually have this opportunity through mock trial competitions.

FHS junior Kitt Jordan, participates in mock trial competitions through New Brighton’s mock trial team, but what exactly is mock trial and how does it work?
“Mock trial is a competitive organization that competes in a mock court, which is set up like a real trial,” Jordan said.

Jordan and her fellow team of New Brighton students compete against students from other near schools like Beaver and are moving onto different Pennsylvania regions such as Butler.

“All case materials are provided in November, which include six witness affidavits and the court rulings itself. Objections occur throughout the entire trial. The trial concludes with the Defense closing followed by the Prosecution closing. All trials are from the same case materials, but each team needs a separate Prosecution and Defense team to compete at different times,” Jordan said.

A mock trial is set up like a real trial but students perform written cases and get scored. The teams can compete county wide and rise in the ranks all the way to state competitions and national competitions.

“There is a judge to keep things civil and determine what is and isn’t acceptable and there is a jury made up of actual lawyers to score participants during the trial. The scores come from each individual action, meaning everything you do is judged on a scale from one to ten, one being the worst and ten being the best. The trial is set up like this prosecution opening statement, Defense opening statement, Prosecution witnesses (all three) are directed and crossed [and] then the Defense witnesses (all three) are directed and crossed. Directs come from the attorneys that call the witness and crosses are from the opposite counsel,” Jordan said

“[When competing on the county level] the lawyers that judge the competitions are typically from Beaver County, but they come from any local communities, including Conway, Freedom and New Brighton,” Jordan said.

Jordan and her fellow teammates have qualified for the semifinals as well as winning the county championship for the first time in ten years. They have beaten schools such as Blackhawk and Beaver.

Jordan herself has been awarded best advocate three times throughout the team’s competition run. She is the only Freedom student to participate in mock trial.Personal awards, like best advocate, are voted on by the other competing team as to be sure to be impartial.

Anyone is able to attend the competitions, as they’re open to the public, typically family, friends and other teams come to witness competitions. The team won regionals Mar. 9 against Butler, and they move on to the mock trial state competition on Mar. 24 and 25.