Middle School & LHS Mock Trial Teams Shine In Competition

LHS Mock Trial team member Delano Yeung won a Best Witness award.

MIDDLE SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL SHOWCASE

By Lisa Batkiewicz

Garfield and Harding participated in the statewide Middle School Mock Trial Showcase sponsored by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education last month in at the State Courthouse in Columbus and came away with many awards, including Best Attorney and Best Witness.

Garfield’s three teams together won three of six possible Best Attorney awards and three of six possible Best Witness awards. Harding’s two teams won two  Best Attorney awards and              one Best Witness award. 

Garfield’s Best Attorneys winners were Tyler Kemp, Avery Spahr, and Adam Tanina. Harding’s Best Attorneys were Julia Thomas and Ingrid Matera. Garfield’s Best Witnesses awardees were  Cory Clemens, Zsofi Flasher, and Henry Trefethen. Harding’s Best Witness was Harper Haney.

Forty-three teams from districts across Ohio competed over three days, and only 16 teams scored in the top tier of three scoring tiers. The Garfield Ranger Team received the highest rating of Superior. Garfield Gold and Purple Teams as well as Harding Team 1 received a rating of Outstanding and Harding Team 2 received a rating of Excellent.

This year the Middle School Mock Trials were based on the book “The Giver” by Lois Lowry in which a teenager in a dystopian society risks his well-being and goes against the rules of his community to save the life of a small child. 

Each middle school team subdivides into a prosecution and a defense squad, and prepares for two different trials against other Ohio middle schools. Students take on the roles of attorneys, witnesses, and bailiff/timers. The trials take place in front of real attorneys who act as trial judges and who rate teams on case understanding, professional demeanor, oratory skills, and understanding of trial technique and courtroom procedure.

 Special thanks to attorney Sarah Cleves, a Lakewood resident and Senior Claims Attorney with ABA Insurance Services, Inc., who acted as a legal advisor for Garfield’s teams, coached by Mrs. Colleen Gromek. Garfield’s seventh-grade participants were Sam Anderson, Mustafa Anwari, Nixon Biasotti, Cory Clemens, William Costello, Dylan Emerson, Zsofi Flasher, Colleen Flynn, Gian Frederick, Brock Hammersmith, Emmy Hansen, Danica Herberger, Rylan Hongosh, Orri Hudson, Tyler Kemp, Ben Knight, Jonah McAlister, Toast Miklowski, Samantha Moran, Mallory Mossman, Norah Murtha, Nick Orefice, Evelyn Quesada, Emaline Reba, Elm Russell, Avery Spahr, Desmond Stevenson, Adam Tanina, Claire Timieski, Meagan Towner-McCormick, Henry Trefethen, and Andy Witwer. 

At Harding, Mrs. Batkiewicz, Mr. Avila-John, and Mrs. Murray guided their 7th and 8th grade teams along with help from countless attorneys and judges present during the week of Playoffs which decided Harding’s teams.  

Harding’s 8th grade students participating were: Veronica Allie, Ally Demaline, Luca Eppley, Connor Hibinger, Darwin Hurley, Delia Jablonski, Jack Janko, Julia Myers, Delaney Rodgers, Maddie Sheils, Anthony Smith, Savannah Sullivan, Alden Therrien, and Julia Thomas

Harding’s 7th grade students were: Andrew Babson, Marie Brosky, Deagan Carney, Ace Griggs, Harper Haney, Tyler Kinder, Quinn Liderbach, Caroline Lubas, Ingrid Matera, Marlo Melnick, Lane Rowland, Autumn Seeley, Amelie Snipes, and Anna Winchester 

Also, a special thanks to the Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation for helping fund this project! We could not have done this without your support!

OHIO HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL 

By Dan Shields

The Lakewood High School Mock Trial Team competed this spring in the 2023-2024 Ohio High School Mock Trial competition, sponsored by the OCLRE (Ohio Center for Law Related Education).  Each fall high school teams from around the state prepare a trial based on a case created by a panel of judges, lawyers, and staff. This year's case was State v. Espinoza, which dealt with the history and application of the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. In this case the LHS team looked at excessive fines in the context of the forfeiture of a classic 1967 Chevy Camaro. This case was argued at the historic Old Courthouse in downtown Cleveland.

Violet Gonzalez and Jay Dozier served as the Timekeepers for the Lakewood team, keeping the lawyers on track throughout the proceedings. Luisa Garcia and Abby Emerson participated as backups for the team, working with the lawyers and witnesses to keep them on target. Alessio Matera and Cameron Wereb served as advisors to their peers providing assistance when needed. 

The Prosecution team was composed of Mel Diemert and Mikayla Jaissle, while the Defense attorneys were Gwen Hongosh and Maya Trempe. The lawyers prepared the examination and cross examination of all witnesses, using the case materials and evidence provided by OCLRE. They all were diligent in their preparation and executed their roles skillfully and with determination. 

The witnesses were played by Abby Peck as Ash, Ceci Whiteamire as Harley, Delano Yeung as Makani, and Tarik Ibrisagic as Oakley/Presley. They prepared their parts and helped the lawyers present their best case. The judges thoroughly enjoyed the actors in costume, the manner in which each acted their roles, their knowledge of the facts, and a stellar acting performance. This is especially true for Delano Yeung, who won the outstanding witness in his trial, which he earned by being well prepared and showing dedication to his role.

Lakewood's team worked diligently on the case materials as they organized strategy and legal arguments. This tight knit team of students prepared from October through January, on their own, to prepare for the Mock Trial competition. They presented a lively trial and impressed the judges with their preparation, questions, arguments, and appropriate objections.  

The team wishes a fond farewell to Cameron Wereb, who recently graduated. However, the good news is that none of the other members of this year’s mock trial team will be graduating this spring, which should make for a stronger, more experienced team for next season.

The 2023-2024 Lakewood Team was led by teacher/moderator Mr. Joseph Lobozzo, with assistance from local attorneys Amelia Leonard and Dan Shields. The moderators are especially proud of this year's team, as they organized themselves and prepared their own schedule to work on this year's trial.

The mock trial team is open to all Lakewood High students.  The team encourages everyone to join them next year, including those who participated in the Middle School Mock Trial at Harding and Garfield middle schools.

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Volume 20, Issue 11, Posted 12:51 PM, 06.05.2024