One club at Corona del Mar High School does not concern itself with politics or debates. Instead, this club revolves around the legal system within the United States. Armed with knowledge of many laws and amendments, Corona del Mar’s Mock Trial team competes with schools across the state in trials at real courts.
At its core, the Mock Trial program aims to educate students about our country’s legal system. They assume the role of a prosecution, defense, or pretrial attorney, witness, or even a bailiff. Every position gives students a wealth of knowledge about amendments, laws, and judicial procedure.
Corona del Mar’s Mock Trial President, senior Robert Naruse, believes this program gives students many benefits.
“The Mock Trial program informs students about the legal systems in the United States while helping improve their real life skills like speaking and collaboration,” he said.
At meetings every Tuesday, members of the Mock Trial review arguments, memorize speeches, and conduct practice trials in order to edge out the others schools at competitions.
Held at the Santa Ana Courthouse, these competitions are presided over by a real judge. Actual attorneys score the students based on their performance as their assigned role.
Every member of the team contributes to the score. To avoid losing on valuable points, the team must know the case inside and out. Whether it’s a murder trial or an art theft, each team member is expected to know all the arguments and rebuttals from the prosecution or the defense.
The current case concerns the murder of a security guard by a college athlete. The students on the prosecution hope to prove the athlete murdered the security guard with malice intent; whereas the students on the defense are trying to prove that the athlete acted in self-defense. The debate about the athlete’s Fifth and 14th Amendment rights only make the case more complicated.
The team has enlisted the help of a few advisors that specialize in various legal professions. With the help of some various attorneys, the team hopes to advance to the finals. Last year, they made it to the quarterfinals.
“We had three wins and one loss last year, and we missed quarterfinals by only a few points. This year, we hope to at least make it into the quarterfinals,” said sophomore Devin Yerasi.
Other members in the Mock Trial team enjoy other aspects of club.
Returning sophomore Jayson Yasukochi said that he enjoys “learning the intricacies of the court situation while also being able to meet and socialize with new people.”
Win or lose, the Mock Trial team will walk away with fond memories of the program.
Corona del Mar’s Mock Trial team ended its season with two wins and two losses. Unfortunately, this was not enough for them to advance to the quarterfinals.