Verdict rules; they are set to win


Ari Forcelle

Mock Trial season is coming up

Ari Forcelle

Mock Trial started their new year this October by introducing new members and new teams. With over ten new members, the Owatonna Mock Trial team is practicing hard and working with everyone to get them acclimated to the Mock Trial atmosphere. Ashton Jensen, a new lawyer for the B team said, “I am most excited for the new experience with a bunch of new educational opportunities that will help with communication.” The team practices three times a week: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for two  hours.

Mock Trial was created by the Minnesota Bar Association around the year of 2004. Each year the state association picks a real life court case, which allows these students to practice the case against each other in a real life courtroom setting.  Criminal laws regulate crimes and civil laws regulate issues between private parties. This year the team received a criminal case – the case of Cameron Skeeter Farris. There are two main roles for trial to take place – lawyers and witnesses. In addition to the two roles, there are two sides to each case. Whether that be in real life or in mock trial, they are known as prosecution and defense. In mock trial, there are three lawyers and three witnesses for each side. Witnesses have to memorize their role and lawyers have to defend them.

There are different levels of tournaments that mock trial competes in; it is a process of elimination. If the team wins three rounds of the regional competition, they move on to compete in a fourth round with more competition. If a team makes it past the fifth and final round, then they proceed onward to compete in state competitions. Next would be the national competition.

The coaches for this year’s team are health teacher Mrs. Ann Christensen, attorney Scott Hougen and attorney Joel Eaton. Mrs. Christensen said, “I am very excited for this year! I have been a coach for the past four years, and each year it gets even better. I love to help the kids and watch their excitement grow.” One interesting thing about mock trial is that any grade can join. This makes for a fun diversity among the group. Mrs. Christensen is a very good organizer and helps the team keep up to date with things, whether that be with upcoming meets and bus rides there or with settling lawyer debuts. The other coaches, Hougen and Eaton, are very experienced and help provide the team with legal facts and are the base of the team. Eaton, a new coach this year, said, “I am most excited to receive the opportunity to help students learn about the judicial system as well as watching all the enthusiasm grow.” Eaton has been an attorney for over 15 years in Owatonna.

Mock trial is a very eventful group. They get to work in high levels of communication between peers and in front of large groups of people. They are practicing very hard with great coaches supporting them. Let’s hope by the end of the season, verdict rules a winning Owatonna team.