Mock Trial: Another Year, Another Victory?

Posted on December 1, 2020 by


“People do not win people’s fights. Lawyers do,” aerospace businessman Norman Ralph Augustine said.

Over 300 high school student teams from across the state have the opportunity to act as lawyers and witnesses in simulated civil and criminal trials before actual judges and panels of juries. Lawyers volunteer to assist students as team advisors, scorekeepers, and regional coordinators. Each year, the winning team goes on to represent Pennsylvania in the national competition. Last year, Fleetwood’s team had eleven players instead of the usual nine. This year, it’s unsure of how many they will have since it’s online and they don’t have to worry about transportation

Three seniors were lost last year after winning Districts against Parkland School District: Andy Menet, Julia Funari, and Avery Millisock. The victory over Parkland was a surprise. It’s hard for a public school to win such a big event since they don’t have access to fancy lawyers or have the ability to meet as often as private schools.

“It could have gone either way from where I was sitting in the gallery…and due to some brilliant tactical maneuvers by the attorneys, we were able to draw out the weaker parts of their case,” Mrs. Molly Sherman, Mock Trial Coach, said.

This year’s case is a civil case, so it’s all about proving liability or negligence.  The plaintiff is bringing a wrongful death charge against the defendant, who was a co-inventor of a new sports energy drink. The other type of case is called criminal, which is when the government is prosecuting an individual for breaking a law. Criminals are looking for jail time, but civil cases usually involve a fee. 

This year Fleetwood has eight returning players and many more new recruits. 

“I was really impressed with the new kids at the practices, so I’m hoping we can expand to twelve, especially because we’re virtual and don’t need to use the nine-seat van. Plus, we’re losing some heavy talent next year with our three seniors,” Sherman said.

All of the newcomers are thoroughly enjoying Mock Trial so far and are planning on auditioning to be a part of the competition.

“It’s really fun in a challenging way. The material can be tough to digest depending on the topic, but the games and discussions help a lot. Everyone is very inviting and excited to have new people,” freshman Kaitlyn Geist said. 

Despite the unusual setup this year, where the competitions are all going to be over zoom with no spectators, every participant is very excited about the case.

“I am super excited to be competing with the presented case this year. The wrongful death suit is intense but great to work with and build suspense or drama from. I love the mysterious zombie theme that was incorporated, and I have chosen to look at the loose ends as an opportunity to develop our case theory into new and unexpected approaches in a competitive manner!” returning junior Natalie Slusser said. 

However, many of the “mockers” are concerned about the new methodology of trial beause they can’t intimidate the witnesses as much. Luckily, the lawyers will be able to converse more this year than if they were in court.

“I think going online will hurt us. I think we train very hard for court prescience,” returning senior Aidan Kotsch said. 

Even with the online aspect this year, the mockers are excited for this year and hoping to advance as far, if not farther, than they did last year.

Posted in: Madeline Ammon