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Mock Trial Regionals

After months of preparation, CHS Mock Trial’s A Team wins third at regionals and advances to the state-level competition. While there were some challenges, the teams supported each other through it all.
Photo courtesy of Chloe Root

Gnomes lay at the epicenter of the case. To be specific, their destruction and who caused it. The plaintiff placed the blame on Orville Earhart, a drone-obsessed old man who they claimed was negligent in his actions, and so a gnome garden was destroyed.

The defense pointed fingers at two possible perpetrators: Earhart’s nurse, Corey Rachett-Nicholson, who may have given their patient quadruple his insulin shot, ultimately causing his death and Sandy Boone, a trigger-happy neighbor who tried to shoot down the drone before it crashed into the gnome garden.

This is only part of the Michigan High School Mock Trial, a civil case in which the plaintiff sues the defense. To participate, the CHS Mock Trial teams — A Team and B Team along with a courtroom artist and courtroom journalists — left on March 23 for an overnight stay in Pontiac, MI, near the courthouse where the tournament would be held the following day.

The teams were able to use the law office of Trent Collier, a lawyer who helped coach the team. The teams practiced their memorized run-throughs, reviewing possible objections and getting into character for their roles. After months of hard work, they were prepared.

The day of the tournament, March 24, began early, with the first trial beginning at 8 a.m.

“I’m most proud of my statement during the first round,” said Indigo Guikema, a plaintiff lawyer for the A-Team. “I feel like I performed it just like I had in practice and my rebuttal seemed popular with the judges.” 

In Mock Trial, teams are randomly paired up with their opponents, as well as random judges. Due to this, teams run into judges of varying strictness, procedures and rules, including some who use rules not seen in Mock Trial practices. On their third round of the day, B Team ran into one of these judges.

“It was hard when I saw round three,” said Charlotte Rotenberg, a B Team captain. “It was a very rough trial. I felt very frustrated for my teammates and I was frustrated about how it would affect our scores, but I also genuinely just wanted to go up and hug them while they were up there because it was so difficult just to watch.”

Although she didn’t agree with many decisions the judge made, Rotenberg is aware that it’s part of the competition.

“I think Mock Trial competitions just really show you how subjective things are,” Rotenberg said. “All of the people that were judging are always going to see things differently and view things differently. It shows you that you have to kind of allow things to just, like be shaken up and you just have to move on.”

Afterward, all teams gathered to hear the results of the trials. With strong performances from both teams, they waited anxiously to hear the results. Three winners would be announced and they would move on to the state competition where they would compete against all other winners from Michigan. 

As the winners were announced, screams of excitement came from the CHS teams. A Team had won third place, and would therefore move forward to the next leg of the competition: States.

“I’m really excited,” said Abbi Bachman, A Team plaintiff attorney. “I’m going for the first time, so I think we’re really trying to find that small victory.” 

With state competition taking place several weeks after regionals, Bachman is ready to put in the full work and effort needed to win states. 

“I’m excited to sort of go over my stuff,” Bachman said. “After seeing how other teams have done it and seeing how other defenses like to push.”

At the ceremony, CHS’ courtroom artists and courtroom journalists were also acknowledged, receiving recognition and an award for their work.

Although the team had to get up early, sit through several hours of trial and compete against tough teams — and judges — Eliam Rosenberg, a B Team witness and first-year participant, is glad for the experience from this year. 

“It was draining, physically and mentally,” Rosenberg said. “And then all these curveballs were just sort of thrown at us which was tough. But if we didn’t have such an awesome community and these people that we could fall back on and laugh with, it would have been really difficult. But we had each other and that was huge.”

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About the Contributors
Aidan Hsia
Aidan Hsia, News Editor
Aidan is the news editor for the Communicator and a senior at CHS. He’s played classical guitar for most of his life but loves all kinds of music. Aidan likes reading, playing games, or watching late-night movies with his dog. He’s excited to start his senior year and to write stories for the Communicator.
Kaylee Gadepalli
Kaylee Gadepalli, Journalist
Kaylee Gadepalli is currently a sophomore at Community High School. In her free time, she can be found practicing violin, listening to show tunes, and playing with her dog. She also is also an avid reader, Netflix binge-watcher, and frequent doodler. This is her first year on staff, and she is looking forward to working on The Communicator.

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