Mock Trial competes for Clark’s victory


Melissa O'Gara

Students prepare with the help of Judge O’Gara before the competition

Round one of the Constitutional Rights Foundation’s 39th Annual Los Angeles County Mock Trial Competition took place Nov. 1 in the LA County Courthouse in Downtown LA. Three Clark teams, each named by a color, made up of 64 students competed.

All teams began preparing for their case in mid September. “I am just super proud of what each team and each person accomplishes.[…] but it’s just so great to see those that tough it out come through and know what a great job they did,” said team advisor/coach Melissa O’Gara.

This year, the fictional case is about 43-year-old Cameron Awbrey, who is accused of human trafficking and false imprisonment of 25-year-old named Lin Stark. Stark is from a country called Tanterra and is desperate to move to the United States to earn more money and support Stark’s family. Stark finds an advertisement for a job position as a head chef and takes the job. The defense, however, believes that Stark is exaggerating or that this was all a misunderstanding.

Students practiced every Sunday for the past six weeks at the O’Gara’s house. During those two-hour practices, lawyers worked with witnesses to determine what information they needed to obtain to make their case. Lawyers worked together to find mistakes within their questions, and the witnesses look to each other for guidance in their acting. “Honestly, it wasn’t tiring to come on those Sunday meetings,” said freshman Vana Hovsepian. ”However, it took a lot of work to put everything aside for Mock Trial,”

Members created memorable experiences during the Sunday meetings. “My most memorable experience this year was the first Sunday meeting we had,” said senior Arka Khechoomian. “Everyone was confused and didn’t know what to expect, especially the new members. However, as soon as we began and got into groups and roles, everything fell into place. Now, looking back to that first meeting I am amazed at how far we have come in just a month.”

At the end of the competition, the “green” team earned a verdict of not guilty verdict as the defense. Both “yellow” and “white” prosecution teams received not guilty verdicts. However, that doesn’t mean that yellow and white team lost. O’gara said that the verdict doesn’t matter, but it is how well the students presented their facts and evidence in court.

The teams competed again on Nov. 7, and team members are awaiting the results.