Mock Trial splits first two matches in county competition

January 29, 2018 — by Katherine Zhou

“‘Someone should KILL idiots like you.’ You heard the defendant admit to having said those very words to the victim merely four days prior to the murder,” junior Khiara Berkowitz-Sklar, Mock Trial prosecution lead attorney, addressed the scoring attorneys at the Santa Clara County Courthouse.

As part of the second round of competition of the Santa Clara County Mock Trial competition on Jan. 25, Berkowitz-Sklar delivered a closing argument asking to condemn the defendant, the fictional character Casey Davidson.

This round of competition against Prospect High School, an accomplished team with four Santa Clara County Championships, turned out to be a decisive 462-360 loss for the Falcons — 56 percent to 44 percent. The defendant was found not guilty by the judge.

Attorney coach Mary McDonnell admitted that the loss was somewhat predictable considering Prospect’s high-caliber and aggressive team. Still, she was proud of the Falcons’ performance.

“I think our attorneys were simply amazing in their professionalism and they didn’t let the other team get to them, and they didn’t let it rattle them,” McDonnell said. “I wish I could videotape this whole trial because the way that the team handled themselves is a model for not getting rattled during competition.”

One particularly difficult aspect of the trial was the sheer number of objections the opposing team brought up during the trial. The Prospect team, which meets biweekly for two hours each, was extremely prepared and well rehearsed.

“I think the number of objections was difficult, and I think that some of the objections they’re making weren’t correct, so it was hard to respond,” McDonnell said.

The Falcons had a different result when their defense team competed on Jan. 23 in a close match against Valley Christian. The Saratoga defense got a not guilty verdict, winning 518-502, or 50.78 percent to 49.22 percent.

“For most trials, you can usually tell which side was more prepared, but it was really hard to tell,” said sophomore Christina Xiao, a prosecution attorney who watched the trial. “However, after the closing argument, I felt like we would win.”

The prosecution team was scheduled to face BASIS’s practice team on Jan. 30, and the defense team was to compete against an unnamed opponent on Feb. 1 (competing team unknown as of Jan. 27.)

(Due to printing deadlines, the Falcon is unable to cover the results of these matches in its print edition.)

The 2018 SHS Mock Trial team:

Prosecution: Attorneys: junior Khiara Berkowitz-Sklar (lead), junior Ashley Feng, sophomore Christina Xiao, senior Catherine Zhang (pretrial)

Witnesses: junior Anuj Changavi as Morgan Bonderman, junior Hugo Huang as detective Adrian Carroll, freshman Shahmun Jafri as medical examiner Devon Morrison, senior Michelle Vu as Hayden Rodriguez

Court Clerk: junior Ava Hooman

Defense: Attorneys: freshman Kaitlyn Tsai (pretrial), sophomore Siva Sambasivam, senior Katherine Zhou (lead)

Witnesses: senior Stacey Chen as Casey Davidson (defendant), freshman Anirudh Khemani as forensic expert Tory Lee, sophomore Sanya Kwatra as Fabian Moreno, junior Ines Pickard as Avery Williams

Court Bailiff: junior Hugo Huang