Mock trial involves more than 120 students in 2019 competition

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Hamilton Southeastern High School’s Band on the Run mock trial team members pause with with presiding judges of the final round of the trial. From left of the final round, Judge Michael Casati, Judge David Najjar, Judge William Hughes.

For nearly 20 years, the Hamilton County Bar Association has sponsored a mock trial competition for local high school students.

The 19th annual mock trail competition took place from Jan. 16 to Feb. 20. It was coordinated by HCBA member Stephenie Gookins of Cate, Terry & Gookins LLC.

Stephenie Gookins, coordinator of the Hamilton County Bar Association Mock Trial, and scholarship winner Kaitlyn Ross, a Hamilton Southeastern student. (Submitted photos)

Thirteen teams from Hamilton County high schools (Hamilton Southeastern, Fishers, Carmel, Guerin Catholic, Westfield, Noblesville and Sheridan) competed by preparing the fictitious case of Addison Cowell vs. Marbury Academy & Marion Roberts.

Teams of seven to 10 students prepared the plaintiff and defense sides of the case, with the assistance of teacher coaches and attorney advisors. Teams alternated their presentation of the plaintiff/defense side of the case in five preliminary rounds. Teams were then seeded and competed in a single-elimination tournament Feb. 20 at the Hamilton County Government and Judicial Center.

Local attorneys and members of the judiciary served as judges throughout the competition. More than 120 students participated, and more than 60 attorneys and judges volunteered.

Hamilton Southeastern’s team, Band on the Run, was the 2019 Mock Trial champion, defeating Westfield’s Hoosier Heat team. HSE’s team was led by Janet Chandler and Sam Robinson. HSE’s Kaitlyn Ross was awarded the HCBA Mock Trial $500 Scholarship. Ross is a four-year participant in the HCBA Mock Trial Competition.

Awards also were presented to students for work in each role of the case. Award winners were:

  • Best Plaintiff’s Attorney: Makena Trew (HHHS)
  • Best Plaintiff’s Attorney, runner-up: Sofia Donado (GCHS)
  • Best Defense Attorney: Benjamin Rascon Gracia (WHS)
  • Best Defense Attorney, runner-up: Kaitlyn Ross (HSE)
  • Best “Addison Cowell” witness: Wyatt Klueber (NHS); runner-up, Veronica Meredith (HHHS)
  • Best “Alexis Schmitt” witness: Mylee Franklin (NHS); runner-up, Sarah Harlowe (GCHS)
  • Best “ Charlie Winthrop” witness: Emily Cerceo (HHHS); runner-up, Ella Foreman (NHS)
  • Best “Marion Roberts” witness: Braden Buehler (WHS); runner-up, Jake Weber (HSE)
  • Best “Glenn Miller” witness: Quinn Lowry (FHS; runner-up, Max Fallin (GCHS)
  • Best “Carl Reed” witness: Rami Daas (HSE); runner-up, Chloe Meinert (WHS)
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