Innocent or Guilty? Mock Trial Season Begins

The young lady at the stand becomes visibly nervous as she settles into her seat.

She waits for the first of what she knows will be a long series of questions. Her mind races with facts, responses, and witty comebacks for the lawyer standing before her. Mock Trial is about to begin.

This year’s Mock Trial roster includes 39 participants, roughly same number as last year’s enrollment. Because of the size, Mock Trial coaches Troy Egami and Steven Hartley split the club up into three separate teams. The three teams will face off with schools such as St. Louis, Iolani, Moanalua, Aiea and Punahou. Current state champion Moanalua is considered by Mock Trial members to be HBA’s biggest threat. However, Mock Trial participant and junior Danielle Toda is unafraid and prepared for a fight. “The teams are all very, very strong this year,” she said. “I think all of us have a chance to make it to states this year. Everyone has been working very hard.”

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“Mock Trial helped me learn that anything is possible.”

Sophomore Bradley Wong

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Mock Trial has been meeting since early November in order to practice and prepare for their season. The club meets three times a week, and the duration of meetings can vary. The shortest practice this season has been two hours, with the longest one at eight hours. Their first competition will be on January 21 at the Hawaii State Circuit Court. Trials last about two hours and require participants to memorize their lines. Sophomore Bradley Wong said, “Mock Trial helped me learn that anything is possible. I’ve learned a lot from the coaches and am excited for our competitions.”

Within the teams, participants can be assigned up to two roles each. There are six different witness roles and two attorney roles. Witnesses are assigned a side in the trial—prosecution or defense. Depending on which side a witness or attorney is on, the participants will work convince the judge to see their point of view in the case.

This past Saturday, Mock Trial participants made their final run-throughs in their last 8-hour practice session. “Yes, it’s a lot of work,” said Toda, “but it’s fun and so rewarding in the end. You meet so many amazing people and you get food every day. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had in high school. I literally cannot say enough good things about it.”

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