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Mock Trial Season 2024

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This season was a significant improvement for the Naz mock trial team. The team was newly formed three years ago by Latin teacher Mr. Soko and has come a long way since its beginning during COVID-19 on Zoom. This year, the case was Addison Booker vs. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a murder case involving three rival pizza owners, a victimized dog, and a ton of hearsay! The team was led by president Sarah Ratka ’24 and backed by Kay Dao ’25, Cam O’Neill ’25, and Julia Melnychuk ’25, the three longest-tenured mock trial members at Naz and our lawyers for this year. The group was rounded off by Sadie Walker ’26, Juliette Jackson ’27, and Lily Butler ’27, who were this year’s witnesses. A big thank you is extended to this year’s timekeepers, Meghan Goodwin ’26 and Juliana Terzella ’27, who hung in there and watched the trials all the way through.

The team opened the season with a decisive win as the prosecution at the Juanita Stout Criminal Justice Center (CJC). Despite a few logistical issues, they made it to the CJC by five pm and pulled off the win. Sarah Ratka won best attorney after delivering a phenomenal closing statement, and Sadie Walker won best witness for her role as Detective Jayden Kobayashi, the leading investigator for the Commonwealth. The team was extremely pleased with their performance and continued to work hard for their next match, meeting via Zoom despite the snow day and several match day changes.

At the Temple Law Moot Court Room, the team prepared for their second match as the defense. This trial was much closer. The lawyers won critical objections in crucial moments, and the witnesses acted better than ever. Kay Dao won best attorney for her snappy cross-examination, and Juliette Jackson won best witness after playing Addison Booker, the defendant herself! This began a long, suspenseful time while the team waited for the judges to release the scores.

Unfortunately, when the scores came out, the team lost by one point. It was an extremely close match between two very good teams. However, this is a huge improvement over the previous two seasons, as the team placed sixth in their division, one place away from advancing to the third round. Cam O’Neill reflected on the season, saying, “We all did pretty good. I have to remember to take my anxiety medicine before the match, so I don’t shake on the stand! The witnesses did awesome, and Julia did great when she filled in as a lawyer. Overall, I think we did much better than last year.” Mock trial coach Mr. Soko commented, “I am super proud of this team. They have improved each year, and the progress is great.” He also noted, “We have a great core group of girls who continue leading this team.” The team intends to work hard again next and hopefully go to the third round for the first time. To sum it up, Kay says, “From the match I attended, it was tight. Hope to make round three next year!”

 

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About the Contributor
Sadie Walker '26, Contributor
Sadie plays soccer and tennis. She participates in mock trial and orchestra, and enjoys reading, sketching, and puzzles.
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