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Mock Trial Review

Midterms weren’t the only thing the JCHS Mock Trial Team had to worry about during the week of the 28th of January. On Tuesday, January 30th and Thursday, February 1st, the defense and prosecution teams competed in the Essex County Mock Trial Tournament. 

 

Held at Veterans Courthouse, the competition tasked teams to argue in defense of or against Metropolitan University Dean of Admissions Ellis Kirwin. According to the testimony of Devon Morris, a criminal whose sentence could be reduced by providing information on Kirwin, Kirwin and Morris engaged in a years-long scheme that defrauded parents and students. The Prosecution carries the burden of proof, meaning that they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ellis Kirwin is guilty of allegedly accepting bribes from Morris to admit students into Metropolitan, committing fourth-degree mail fraud, and failing his obligation as a public official to make fair admissions.

 

Izzy Raimondi, a junior, paired up with returning attorney Sophia Basile, also a junior, to present the defense’s case. Alexandra Li and Agostina Pieri, seniors and three-time co-counsels, argued in favor of the prosecution.

 

Raimondi and Basile proved to be a strong and personable pairing in the courtroom. Despite January 30th being her first-ever mock trial competition, Raimondi delivered a powerful opening and confident examinations of her witnesses. Basile’s impactful performance called for the jury to remember that the prosecution’s star witness was ultimately a “con man” and that the prosecution’s case lacked solid evidence. 

 

On February 1st, the prosecution argued their case. Agostina Pieri’s grilling of Ellis Kirwin undermined the defendant’s credibility while Alexandra Li’s direct questioning of Morris scored points with the jury and judges alike. 

 

After the first round of competition, JCHS was seeded first out of the eight teams that advanced. 

 

On Tuesday, February 6th, the prosecution was called to compete in the quarterfinal round of the Essex County Mock Trial Tournament. Competing against Newark Academy, Alexandra Li and Agostina Pieri fought a tough battle. With heated exchanges on the cross and heartfelt appeals on closing, the trial was truly a performance for JCHS to be proud of. After the judges deliberated for nearly forty-five minutes, the prosecution learned that JCHS would not advance. 

 

As a three-time Mock Trial attorney, I say from experience that JCHS did an excellent job. I am beyond proud of the fight we put up in this tournament, beyond grateful for the mentorships of our attorney-coach Joe Papasidero, Esq. and Mr. McLaughlin, and beyond thankful for the most amazing mock trial teammates I could’ve asked for. Good luck to the JCHS Mock Trial team in the 2024-2025 season!



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Alexandra Li, Opinions and Satire Editor
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