Mock Trial team eyes state competition

Alexandria Arndt

“Jealousy? A coverup for  a pyramid scheme? Find out in “The Stranger,” playing now at a courtroom near you!”

This last line from the 2019 Mock Trial Case serves as a teaser for “State of Missouri v. Jean Sertra,” a murder placed on a movie set in the Ozarks. The BSHS Mock Trial team will be dissecting and then presenting their arguments about this case this winter.

Senior Gabby Stansell is hopeful about what this year’s team can do with this case.

“Last year we had a civil case about a copyright issue with a song. We made it to state but we didn’t break, but we are hoping to make it further this year and hopefully win state,” Stansell said.

In a Mock Trial competition there are two teams, the plaintiff/ prosecutor and the defense,  that receive either a criminal or civil case and they get to work analyzing, writing questions and performing opening and closing statements as though they were real lawyers. The competitions usually last two hours a piece and they are judged in actual court houses.

“We are judged by real lawyers or law students during competition. We even have two lawyers that help Mr. Higgins run the team.” Stansell said.

Jen and Matt Hawkins are two attorney lawyers that help go over cross questions, look at the opening and closing statements and teach the team about the use of legal terms.

“They are really awesome and they did mock trial when they were in college. They help us a ton, and really got us going last year,” Stansell said.

Stansell enjoyed viewing the case from a lawyer’s standpoint; additionally, the friends she gained during the experience was a bonus. As a senior, she has some pretty big goals for the team.

“I want us to win state this year, and then go on to compete in Nationals,” Stansell said.

A new member, senior Billy Mears couldn’t agree more with Stansell.

“The goal is always to go as far as possible. I’m really looking forward to doing more team based competition and working with my fellow teammates,” Mears said.

Mock Trial Coach Adam Higgins recruited Mears to the team, as Mears serves as Debate team President and has public speaking experience.

“He believed the communication abilities that I had developed in Debate would allow me to more seamlessly argue and persuade a judge,” Mears explained.

Right now the practices consist of a lot of preparation and discussion, but the team is restless for January when they finally get to compete. Regarding their case, Mears has an idea on who done it.

“Sertra did it; the dude is creeptastic,” Mears said.