Mock trial’s successful season

JORDAN KRAMER

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Maiya Little

The mock trial team before the south jersey finals

 Eastern’s mock trial team has had a very successful year thus far. Once the casebook was released in November of 2021, captains Maiya Little and Anika Kapoor got to work reading through it all, and putting together their directs, crosses, and everything that goes into a trial. There are many components that make up a trial, so here’s a simple guide to how things work!

Prosecution vs Defense

  This year, the city of Metropolitan (the prosecution) is accusing Perry Jordan (the defense) of being involved in the trafficking of stolen luxury goods. 

  Both sides have two attorneys; the prosecution’s are Maiya Little and Claire Sklar, and the defense’s are Anika Kapoor and Claire Sklar/Giovanni Ciro. 

  Along with the attorneys, each side has three witnesses to help their side win. 

  On the prosecution, Officer Parris Jewel is played by Micheal DiPascale, expert Jules Thompson is played by Riya Nandakumar, and clerk Cameron Clark (say that ten times fast!) is played by Paige Huber. The defense has the accused Perry Jordan being played by Tiana Cyrelson, rover driver Blair Overland played by Thomas Alexander/Jordan Kramer, and expert Kaden Keller played by Faith Lee.   

How does a trial run?

  Understanding how a mock trial proceeds is difficult at first, but the more you watch, the easier it’ll be.

   Both prosecution and defense sides start with their opening, where they explain why they’re in court today, and what they will prove (in this case, if Jordan is guilty or innocent). 

  Next, the prosecution witnesses will be brought to the stand. The prosecution attorneys will question them, which is called a direct, and it’s practiced before the trial. They’ll ask questions about their jobs, their relevance to the case, and anything to paint Jordan as guilty. 

  After their time is up, the defense side questions the prosecution witnesses in the cross, which the witness will have to answer on the spot. Once all the prosecution witnesses go, the defense witnesses take the stand. Same as the prosecution, they’ll go through their directs and crosses.  

  The opposing sides’ attorneys can object to the questions the other sides ask if they believe they’re improper questions. For example, if the defense asks a prosecution witness about an event that has nothing to do with the case, the prosecution can object on the count of relevance. Both attorneys will state either why or why not it is relevant, and the judge will decide to either overrule the objection, or sustain it.

  The trial ends with both sides’ closing statements, which summarizes what was discovered in court, and how that proves Jordan’s innocence or guilt (depending on what side is going). The judges will discuss privately who they think performed better, and after a short recess will declare the winner.

South Jersey Champions

  After preparing for 3 months, the first trial was on February 5th. The prosecution side went, and they won the trial. Next week on February 12th, the defense went twice in two separate trials, and defeated the other teams. With the record of 3-0 Eastern advanced to the county finals and came out victorious! 

  The first two regional trials fell on March 1st, and the team ran into some problems. One of the defense attorneys, along with two witnesses, were absent. Substitutions had to be made, but that didn’t stop the defense side from winning both trials. Anika Kapoor and fill-in Claire Sklar managed to snag a win against very talented teams, despite all the substitutions.

  The South Jersey Championship was the closest trial the team had seen yet, and, once again, Eastern’s team was able to clinch another victory. Officially the South Jersey Champs, the next trial on March 10th was the Semi-Regional Finals for the state! Unfortunately, the team lost in a very impressive trial, but Eastern’s mock trial team ended third in the state!

What the captains have to say

  The two captains, Anika Kapoor and Maiya Little, joined the club as freshmen and started out as witnesses. 

  When asked how past team leaders influenced their way of leadership, they both said how they wanted to create a more friendly environment. Prior years, the team was very professional but not as fun, and this year Kapoor said she “wants us all to be friends.”A new tradition of doing a Power-Point night was started, and they hope that the underclassmen will carry on with it, and keep the unity that they created this year with the team.

  Staying professional, but having fun, allowed cooperation on both sides, and Little mentions how that helped Sklar fill in for the opposing side’s attorney with little problem. 

  Both captains prefer trials pre-Zoom, where the teams face off in a real-life courtroom. Sadly, this wasn’t made possible with COVID, but they were happy that the Zooms could at least be all together at school, and not at each member’s individual homes. 

  When asked about how much time is put into Mock Trial, Little says she thinks it might be 10 hours a day, and Kapoor jokes that she “breathes Perry Jordan.” The effort put into the club is clearly shown because all the witnesses and attorneys felt prepared for each trial. 

  With their skills learned from Mock Trial, both Kapoor and Little plan to study law in college. Little said that now “everything I do is through a Mock Trial lense,” so it’s clear that the club has left a big impact. 

  The team is sad to see their great senior captains go, but they can’t wait for all they will accomplish in the future!