Mock Trial Recap

Patricia Tomita

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Objections, Testimonies, and Justice!

Canyon’s Mock Trial teams competed in the annual CRF-OC (Constitutional Rights Foundation – Orange County) mock trial competition at the Orange County Superior Courthouse in Santa Ana this winter. They competed against Orange County’s top high schools in trial presided over by a California judge and scored by practicing attorneys. This year, Canyon had two teams, Black and Gold, captained by seniors Mana Javadi and Eric Trujillo.

In the mock trial competition, two schools compete by supplying either the prosecution or the defense. Each side presents witnesses who testify on the stand as well as attorneys who deliver pre-trial arguments, opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing statements. A bailiff keeps order in the court, while the clerk keeps track of timing. Canyon also has a courtroom artist who sketches the scene and a journalist who chronicles the trial in a newspaper-style article.

Echoing current events, this year’s case was a fictional murder trial involving rival political activists at a rally that had turned violent. The defendant was accused of first-degree murder for acting with pre-meditation and malice for striking the victim on the head with the defendant’s walking stick. In their trials, pre-trial attorneys Kamron Agahi (Team Black) and Matthew Cherney (Team Gold) argued for the exclusion of incriminating GPS location data, while Joe Andraso (Team Black) and Neema Wangyal (Team Gold) argued for its inclusion under the 4th amendment.

After the first four rounds of regular competition, both teams were 3-1. Team Black’s higher point totals, however, allowed them to move on to the playoffs, comprised of the top 16 of 50 teams in Orange County. Team Black’s Jonny Grammas walked away with a Best Witness award for his compelling character portrayal. Seniors Shane Strobel, Reena Patel, and Eric Trujillo received individual MVP awards, while Canyon’s own coaches Mike Penn and Mike Sargent were awarded CRF-OC’s Attorney Coaches of the Year, topping off another remarkable year for Mock Trial.

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