Thinking on your feet: Mock Trial

MA students at the 24th annual Marin County Mock Trial Competition

On the heals of our theater performances, congratulations are in order to the MA Mock Trial team for a great showing at the 24th annual Marin County Mock Trial Competition, coordinated by the Marin County Office of Education. An unprecedented 200 students from 10 Marin County high schools participated in the competition. Tamalpais High School emerged as the victor (and has won for the last 17 years in a row). This is the fifth year in a row that MA has participated in the Mock Trial competition. Our tie for fourth place finish marks a steady improvement for our team—with luck, we’ll catch up to Tam High soon!

Members of the MA teamSince 1980, the Constitutional Rights Foundation has created mock trial cases that address serious, relevant issues. Students receive case materials (including summaries of case law, witness statements, official exhibits, and simplified rules of evidence) in September and spend months preparing and participating in scrimmages with other teams. More than 8,000 students in 36 California counties worked in teams and interacted with members of their local legal communities. The Foundation’s goal is to “help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society.” As faculty advisor to the group, I can attest that these goals are satisfied at MA. It’s also a great way to learn to think on your feet—a skill that will come in handy for the rest of your life!

This year’s case, the People v. Buschell, required students to examine violent crime in a historical perspective and the factors that contribute to crime. They portray attorneys and witnesses before a panel of real-life attorneys acting as jurors and a presiding judge at the Marin County Court house. Individual awards were given to Ben Hoffman ’13 for his role as a defense attorney and to Sunayana Basa ’14 for her role as the prosecution’s expert witness, Dr. Schwartz.

Special thanks to our attorney coaches Lauren Battaglia, Kelli Murray, and Darius Ogloza

I am so proud of the twelve students that comprise the MA Mock Trial team: freshmen Jerry Katz and Emi Lemberg; sophomores Sunayan Basa, NoahLani Litwinsella, and Nina McCullough; juniors Rachel Barlow, Ben Hoffman, Jeremy Berkov, and Amanda Aguilera; and seniors Tiffany Chang, Berk Norman, and Alec White. Special thanks to our attorney coaches Lauren Battaglia, Kelli Murray, and Darius Ogloza.

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About Travis

Head of School, Marin Academy.
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