Mock Trial Team Defeats Campolindo

Eric Hass

On March 2, the Miramonte Mock Trial defense team defeated Campolindo High School’s prosecution team in the league finals at the Contra Costa County Courthouse in Martinez.

Miramonte’s hard work in six prior victories this school year led to their appearance in the finals. The Mock Trial team has won the county competition eight out of the nine past years.  State competitions will be held on March 19, 20, and 21.

In Mock Trial, the judge’s verdict has no official bearing on the actual win/loss outcome. Scoring is based on individual performances, which are evaluated on public speaking qualities.

In this contest, Campolindo’s team convicted a comedian of murder in the first degree of a critic.

David Tse successfully moved to exclude some electronic evidence found on the Internet from consideration in a pretrial motion.

Alyssa Sheets gave opening arguments with eloquence and conviction.

Anastasia Kaiser cross-examined witnesses Kayla Davidge, Meredith White, Robert Robinson, and Rachel Hallett, as well as Campo’s handful, who were introduced and sworn in by bailiff Holly Finertie. Kaiser’s deliberate cross-examinations were subject to many objections from Campolindo, but she induced overrulings from the judge on most of them. Her conduct under pressure and against time earned her the team’s Game Gavel award.

“The attorney has one of the toughest roles, because of objections they have to respond to, and the fast pace, because these are timed competitions,” said Molly Fehr, a member of the defense team.

Robinson received the team’s Michael Roe Award for witnesses for his moderate and controlled personalization of character. He also defended himself from an impeachment, which is an attempt by a cross-examining attorney to point out a difference between a witness’ sworn statement and their sworn testimony. Such a discrepancy can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Phoebe Schmidt gave closing arguments many scoring attorneys described as “better than many new attorneys’ arguments”.

Jake Ellis performed admirably as shadow-timer.

At the beginning of the season, students express preferences for certain roles. The  preferences are “narrowed down, because some people receive bad scores at their chosen position, so there are cuts,” said Kaiser.

Student academic accomplishment isn’t limited to Mock Trial. Miramonte’s Academic Decathlon team earned 3rd place in the Contra Costa County Academic Decathlon Competition; trailing Campolindo, then Acalanes, in that order.

The competition took place on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6 at Los Medanos College in CSU East Bay. Erin Cherry won a Silver Medal in Language and Literature and a Bronze Medal in Super Quiz. Andrew Fung won a Gold Medal in Science, and Abi Horstman won a Bronze Medal in Speech. Theodore Kerr won a Gold Medal in Interview, and a Bronze Medal in Math. Eric Liu won a Silver Medal in Science. Jonathon Wong won a Bronze Medal in Economics, a Bronze Medal in Math, a Gold Medal in Speech, and a Bronze Medal overall.

Miramonte received medals in every Academic Decathlon subject except for Music, Social Science, Art, and the Essay. Unfortunately, these scores didn’t merit an award from the county.