Attorneys, Bailiffs, and Judges Oh My!

Submitted by tiffanie.miley on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 07:58

After school near Mrs. Rice’s room there is some noise, some arguing, then the arguing becomes very, very loud. This arguing is Mock Trial. Mock Trial is a student court process, where students have the privilege to compete against other schools. Mrs. Rice, an English teacher at SJHS, said, “In order to participate, students need a little bit of stage presence. They also need to be able to think quickly and carefully in response to what goes on in the trial. Finally, they need to be able to take criticism from their peers and adults to improve their performance.” Mrs. Rice is in charge of SJHS’s mock trial team.

Yammina Castro, a ninth grader at SJHS, said her favorite part about Mock Trial is, getting to “simulate the court process. You can also push yourself to obtain a higher thinking level.” Mock Trial is made up of seventh, eighth, and ninth graders at Springville Junior High, a select number of students who are interested in the law process participate. Jacob DeRosia, a ninth grader also at SJHS, said he joined Mock Trial because of Peer Court. “I loved that and I wanted to continue and as Peer Court is only half a year, Mock Trial seemed like a pretty good option,” he explained.

Mrs. Rice isn’t the only person who is in charge of Mock Trial, Mr. Hansen, Utah History teacher at SJHS, also helps out as much as he can.

In order for the Mock Trial competition to work, the state gives the team leaders a case. This case is fake so the team members can practice being lawyers on both defense and prosecution. The team decides who gets to be whom (witnesses in the case, attorneys) in the case. They practice and practice and practice. The team is soon ready to compete. The competition is held in the Orem Juvenile Justice center. The SJHS team will go and argue their case against another school. The teams are awarded points on how they present their case. Whichever team has the most points wins.

Mock Trial is a great way for students who are interested in becoming lawyers or those who are interested in court proceedings, to learn. 

Mock Trial is held after school on Mondays and Tuesdays in Mrs. Rice’s class and during Quest Time on Mondays and Fridays in Mr. Hansen’s room (by invitation). It’s an excellent way for students to obtain higher levels of thinking. 

Sarah Clark,SJHS Staff Writer