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All About Mock Trial

By Andrew Basinger
Cape Fear Academy

It is the beginning of the 2019 Youth and Government Conference, which means there is a brand new and exciting Mock Trial case. 

Mock Trial is made up of many teams composed of attorneys and witnesses. All groups argue the same case and are required to speak on behalf of the defense and prosecution. 

Through the presentation of evidence, statements, and cross-examination, the teams will try to solidify their arguments for the final verdict. This year’s case, The State of New Columbia v. Chris Archer is unique as the defendant faces two felonies. The defendant, Chris Archer, was charged with both hazing and murder and encouraged the consumption of alcohol. It resulted in Archer’s fraternity friend falling to his death with a high blood alcohol concentration. 

Some say Archer is responsible for the death of his friend; meanwhile, others argue he is innocent. The defendant will likely face charges of hazing, but many of the teams will try to prove his innocence of murder, or even lessening the sentence to manslaughter. 

Compared to last years’ case some participants say it is the best one yet. Delegate Renee Roberts from The Early College of Forsyth said, “I really enjoy this years case, murder cases are always the best.” It seemed the majority of delegates favored murder cases over civil ones, as the past three years have all consisted of murder cases.  

Many teams and Mock Trial participants remain ecstatic for this year’s case, as it has a lot of perspectives to offer and opportunities for creativity. Roberts enjoys the idea of arguing both sides, saying “It’s a lot of fun to argue both sides, I enjoy changing character and arguing new points.” 

However, it seems that more people favor the defense side of the case, as it is open-ended, unlike the prosecution. Roberts said, “I prefer defense because as an attorney I love pressing my points.” 

As Mock Trial continues to progress, many have mixed feelings of nervousness, excitement, or both. Delegate Isaiah Perez from The Early College of Forsyth says, “I am always nervous before the trial but once you get the feel of it is is a lot of fun. I am really excited to see how this case will turn out." 

The many teams will continue to argue their cases throughout the conference to finally reach a verdict, released on Saturday. After only the first session, delegates have a lot to say about the case. Delegate Perez says, “I am astounded by how amazing everyone is and how well everyone presented." 

Roberts said “It is a lot of work and preparation for all the different aspects of the case, but at the end of the day it’s a great time” As the Mock Trial sessions continue to evolve over conference and our teams continue to work hard, everyone remains nervous and ecstatic for Saturday’s verdict.