The Independence Middle School Mock Trial Team just completed another very successful and exciting season, highlighted by a return trip to the Ohio State Supreme Court Building in Columbus, Ohio for the State Middle School Mock Trial Showcase.
Because of Covid, last year’s Showcase had to be held virtually via Zoom. It was good to get back live. Middle School Mock Trial cases are literature based and are constructed by a team of teachers and lawyers at the Ohio Center for Law Related Education (OCLRE).
This year’s case, State of Arizona vs Susanna Morales, was based upon the book Greystone Secrets – The Stranger by Margaret Peterson Haddix where the defendant was a judge being charged with kidnapping three children who looked exactly like three other children who she was trying to take into custody with a legal protective order (a long, complicated fact pattern – believe me).
The students work collaborative and independently to develop both sides of the case and presenting it in trial format against other competing schools. Independence Middle School’s defense team competed this year against Danville Middle School’s prosecution team, and in a separate trial, Independence Middle School’s prosecution team competed against Woodward Park Middle School. The trials were presided over by volunteer Judges and Attorneys.
Independence Middle School’s prosecution team this year consisted of: Tatiana Randjelovic and Tate McGovern, who were the attorneys for the prosecution, with prosecution witnesses MaryAnne LeRoy as Natalie Mayhew, Maya Toth as Emma Greystone, and Matthew Liepert as Joe Smith.
Independence Middle School’s defense team this year consisted of: Jamie Tresp and Macon Taylor, who were the attorneys for the defense, with defense witnesses, Sophie Polter as Fine Gustano, Penny Averre as Officer Alex Miller, and Matilda Averre as the defendant Judge Susanna Morales. Gavin Jarnowski was our bailiff and timekeeper. MaryAnne LeRoy and Penny Averre were both awarded “Best Witness” recognition.