Mock Trial gets taken to court

Yamhill & Roosevelt high school Mock Trial collaboration

Steven Davis, News Reporter, News Reporter


Under the guidance of social studies teacher, Haley Brill, the Mock Trial club has flourished into a well composed class that helps to develop understanding of the judicial branch and more specifically the process of civil and criminal trials on both a state and federal level. Over the last semester of Mock Trial students have been able to participate in three hands-on trials, along with a class field trip to the Multnomah County Courthouse.

“Students are very motivated to put together strong cases,” states Brill. She furthers her stance on the Mock Trial class by stating that her favorite part of the class is “putting on a strong case motivates students more than the letter grade.”

The first trial was designated to cover the processes involved in preparing well versed sides on issues specific to the President Trump immigration executive order proposed in February.

The second trial was a lengthy process that entailed breaking into two groups, prosecution and defense. These two groups would focus on preparing the cross examination questions for the witnesses based on testimonies the students received when they started studying the case. Later when they developed their narrative for the criminal case, the groups teamed up with students from Roosevelt High School who had prepared direct examination questions for the witnesses.

The third trial was just completed. In this case, the Mock Trial students are once again split into two groups in order to resolve the civil dispute between Landry Lopez, a former employee at Buddy’s Burgers and Buddy Gartowski, owner of Buddy’s Burgers and former employer of Lopez.

The third trial was held May 15th in the library. The library was packed with teachers, students, and parents who came to watch the case’s progression. With intermediate schoolers acting as jurors and Brill acting as the judge the case progressed smoothly with very little distraction. As the Mock Trial students anxiously await the verdict, which is to be announced to them at class on Wednesday the 17th, they can feel proud of their accomplishments throughout the case.

Freshman Grace Armstrong, a student in the class stated, “not only are we motivated to get a good grade, but also to achieve a more thorough understanding of our judicial system by creating a strong argument for our cases.”

For their field trip, not only was it chaperoned by Brill, but Matt Opitz as well, who is taking over the class next school year. The class got to go to take on how justice plays out in Portland. It consisted visiting the Multnomah County Justice along with the Multnomah County Courthouse.  They got to take a step back from working on trials, and instead watch them themselves.