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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Justice in session: Gabrielino students shine in Mock Trial prelims

Courtesy of Sophia Pu.

     On Nov. 2, 8, 15, and 27 the Gabrielino High School Mock Trial varsity teams competed rounds at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Both varsity teams were undefeated in their first rounds and lost in their quarter-finals.  

   “It’s really nerve-wracking at first, I hadn’t been in a courthouse in quite a while,” stated senior Chris Torres, who plays a trial attorney. “It’s exhilarating…because it’s in person. If you mess up you cannot hide behind a screen.”

  This year’s fictional case involves murder victim Kieran Sunshine and the accused of first-degree murder, Tobie Clark. Clark is an employee of Sunshine’s prosthetic company where they pursued a fraudulent patent.

  “My expectations and hopes were that there would be an atmosphere [the underclassmen] can enjoy and understand why I’ve been so passionate about [mock trial] for so long,” said senior Garrison Chan, a captain of the team. 

   Within a trial, there are cross and direct examinations used to show the client was or was not guilty. When a witness is on the stand, their lawyer will directly examine them to present evidence that helps their side of the case. On cross-examination, the opposing side’s lawyer interrogates the witness for facts that would hurt the witness’ side of the case. 

     “For my direct examination, I feel like I did really well even though I was on a time crunch since I am the last witness [to testify],” said sophomore Amy Diep, who plays the role of a witness.

  Diep, a first-year-in mock trial, discovered a welcoming environment on the team and gained lots of knowledge from the seasoned members. 

  The teams also perform in front of judges and scoring attorneys. They are scored based on delivery, character, knowledge of the case, and memorization. 

   Before the trial begins, a defense pre-trial lawyer motions to challenge a piece of evidence’s constitutionality. In this year’s case, the defense cited violations of the 4th and 14th Amendments. Using real cases to support their arguments, pre-trial sets the stage for the rest of the court session.

  “[Being inside an in-person courthouse] is way more exciting than Zoom,” stated sophomore Natalia San Lucas, who plays a lawyer. “The adrenaline is definitely higher because the environment is very real.”

  Once the students get onto the bus for competition, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation. On the way to the courthouse, students chatter about lighthearted topics. They carry on a tradition of singing a Mock Trial-themed “Wheels on the Bus” song, as well as songs from the Broadway musical “Hamilton”. 

  “Outside of competitiveness, I was just hoping that it would be a fun experience for everyone,” said Chan.

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About the Contributor
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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