The Catalyst

The Mock Trial team gets its day in court during annual competition



Johana Ligtenberg, Staff Writer

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A young, passionate political activist faces life in prison for first degree murder — Did Casey Davidson bludgeon Alex Thompson to death with her walking stick or was she simply in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is she guilty or not guilty?

Since last September, the NDB Mock Trial team has been examining the facts of this fictional legal case to argue the fate of Casey Davidson.  The team is divided into JV and Varsity and then into defense and prosecution sections with its own cast of attorneys, witnesses, and other members that study the case, its evidence, and other details during afterschool practices twice a week.

Each side competes with teams from other high schools on the southern part of the peninsula at the San Mateo County Mock Trial Competition in late January and early February.

Convening in actual courtrooms at the Superior Court in Redwood City, the teams present their cases to a real practicing judge or attorney while other attorneys score their performances.

Over the course of the past six months, both sides have prepared and practiced delivering thorough arguments presenting evidence that proves their side of the case regarding two political rivals from non-violent groups. They go as far as accounting for the timeline of events and corroborating evidence from the day of the murder.

The prosecution and the defense teams each have a pre-trial attorney, three trial attorneys, and four witnesses.

The prosecution’s witnesses include the victim’s best friend, the detective who investigated the case, the medical examiner who completed the autopsy, and a reporter who covered the events that took place on the day of the murder.

The defense’s witnesses consist of a tech shop owner where the defendant claimed to be during the time of the murder, a forensics expert who interpreted the evidence in a different way, a history teacher who believes that she saw the defendant several times around the time of murder, and the defendant herself, who testified to her belief in non-violence.

Both NDB teams came out strong in their first week of competition on January 25, but slipped back several places during the next round on February 1. The team ended their season with a powerful performance on February 5.

Co-Captain and senior Roxana Khalili says, “The end of the season is always sad, but momentous, as we look back on our trials and what we’ve learned from the beginning of the year. Overall, remembering how far we’ve come as confident young women is more important than what the scorers say.”

Team moderator and English teacher Adam Currier says, “The team had a great season that saw return members take on new roles, new members take on challenging roles, and everyone improve over the course of the season. It was a strong finish for our seniors. We are looking forward to a great season next year under new captain, Abiya Baqai.”

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The Mock Trial team gets its day in court during annual competition