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The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

Photo Credit: Mr. McCleary
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Photo Credit: Mr. McCleary
Photo Credit: Mr. McCleary

On February 10, the Athens Academy Mock Trial team competed in three two-hour rounds at the UGA Law School. After a full day of litigation, our team placed sixth out of ten schools, ending the season. The Mock Trial team has done lots of work since October, meeting twice weekly to practice. Thanks to our amazing teachers and coaches, the students were able to give a brilliant performance. We were led by high school Spanish teacher Mrs. Watson, eighth grade English teacher Mr Hickerson, and lawyers Mr. Deloach and Mr. Quilliams. 

 

In October the team was split into a defense and a prosecution side with three lawyers, and witnesses for each side. All the preparation was around a hundred-page case detailing an alleged cash burglary. 

 

During the trial, lawyers and witnesses gave their opening and closing statements and direct and cross-examinations completely off of notes. Three adult lawyers scored each team based on their acting, arguments, and questioning.

 

Mock trial incorporates students of various talents. Students who excel on the drama stage can be witnesses. Witnesses work with coaches to create a personality and accent for their character, including a workout influencer or a conspiracy theorist detective. This year’s case material gave some interesting characters to work with. Each witness in the case has a six-page testimony provided in the case material, which the students use to extrapolate facts to argue their narrative of the case. During the trial, witnesses must be able to adapt to the opposing lawyer’s questioning, maintaining their narrative or innocence of a crime while keeping their character and accent. 

 

Lawyers are assigned a witness to examine on their side and a witness to cross on the opposing side. Each of these two examinations is seven minutes long. Each duo creates an examination for the trial composed of twenty questions to argue their side’s narrative. Students on cross-examination must effectively control the opposing witness to agree with incriminating facts, defaming their narrative. Attorneys must form concise questions that argue their position. Students must sort through trial rules to determine what evidence from the case material is admissible. Attorneys must articulate polished objections using rule numbers to argue against an opposing witness’s or lawyer’s testimony. Lawyers can object to inadmissible evidence like speculation used by the other side, which scores the team points.

All the skills of litigation in Mock Trial extend to practical speaking skills as well. “High school mock trial provides a great opportunity for students to develop skills in critical thinking, analysis, persuasion, and public speaking, while also learning more about our legal process. While a lot of hard work goes into being part of the team, there’s also plenty of room to have fun along the way,” says mock trial coach, Mr DeLoach. Mock trial is a great extracurricular for Athens Academy students seeking to think on their feet and get the full trial experience. 

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Will McCleary, Guest Writer

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