FLHS Mock Trial Team


Elias Moyse, Journalist

Though the vast majority of the team members are amateurs to the activity, the FLHS Mock Trial team has been performing extremely well this year, advancing to the state Semifinals which will occur on Friday, February 28th. 

Like all teams in the state and country, the FLHS mock trial team has a defense team and plaintiff team. At the beginning of the season, the team gets a case, and must split into two groups and develop a case for both sides. Then on competition days, they go to a courthouse in the state and compete against other teams, FLHS defense going against other schools’ plaintiff team, and the FLHS plaintiff going against another school’s defense team. For each trial, a panel of 2-3 judges preside, and eventually decide who wins the case and subsequently advances. In each round, both the defense team and plaintiff have to compete and win their case for the team to advance to the next round. Though in the State Quarterfinals, the FLHS defense team did not advance, so only the plaintiff team had to compete. 

There are 13 team members on the FLHS Mock Trial Team; 3 witnesses for each side, 3 lawyers for each side, and 1 alternate; “My favorite thing about mock trial is the people. It’s just a really good community…and the snacks are really good,” explained Sophia Kraus who served as a witness on the defense team.

Being a witness requires getting to know your affidavit (provided in case), a 6-7 page sworn statement in which you describe yourself, and your role in the case. Then during trial, you are direct examined and cross examined. In direct you get to tell your story, and in cross, a lawyer from the opposing team grills you on the weaknesses in your affidavit; “[Mock trial] is a place for me to practice courtroom settings, and hang out with pretty cool people,” explained Catherine Wallace who serves as a a lawyer on the plaintiff team.

To be a lawyer, you must formulate a direct examination for your witness and a cross examination for another witness on the other team, and some lawyers prepare an opening or closing statement, a speech to deliver to the courtroom before and after your team presents their case. You also must know how to object to certain questions in directs and crosses, as well as responding to objections. One of the coaches of the Mock Trial Team, Mrs. Sousa shared that, “the hardest part of Mock Trial is performing well under pressure, and being able to think quickly on your feet. We spend a lot of time practicing in class, but once you have to perform in a courtroom, you have to find a way to stay calm, articulate, and respond to things you do not expect.”

This year, the case involved an up and coming track star who tragically died from a steroid overdose. The parent of the student was suing the school, Twain Academy (a fictional school), claiming the coaching staff and the school are civilly liable for the death, as they encouraged the use of steroids.

If you are interested in Mock Trial, tryouts are held at the beginning of the year, every year. If you like good snacks, a great community, and opportunities to learn about civics and law, Mock Trial is the perfect place for you. The Prospect wishes the FLHS Mock Trial Team good luck in the upcoming State Semifinals!