Clark Magnet’s Mock Trial team scores an exhilarating victory in round two


Clark Magnet High School’s Mock Trial Team competed at Stanley Mosk Courthouse

On Nov. 12, Clark scored an exciting victory as both the yellow prosecution and green defense team won at the 42nd annual Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Mock Trial Competition. The victory of the undefeated yellow team means that their defense team will advance to the next round of the Mock Trial Competition on Nov. 14.

The Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Mock Trial Competition presents a theoretical court case often based on true cases that are relevant or controversial in terms of the events occuring in the United States. Participants are expected to conduct research and prepare for the “trial” with the assistance of their mentor or instructor. Participants are assigned the roles of attorneys, witnesses and clerks to accurately simulate a courtroom in session based on the strengths they develop in preparation for the competition. 

For the “trial,” two teams from different schools compete to prove the defendant either innocent or guilty. The “trial” is conducted by a real judge from the Los Angeles County and the students are scored by scoring attorneys who volunteer. The students are scored based on their articulation and legal knowledge.

On Nov. 4, the case presented to students was a murder case in which the objective was to determine whether the defendant, Bailey Matsumoto, killed his spouse intentionally or not. During that round, both teams won and Bailey was declared innocent. Nov. 12 was the second round in which the yellow prosecution won and green defense team lost.

So far, in this competition, Clark’s yellow team has remained undefeated. However, their new competitors will be at a much higher level in experience, which will be a challenge for Clark. 

“It’s a big deal,” said Clark Mock trial teacher Melissa O’Gara. “To go undefeated is really hard to do, Our green team did phenomenally well. They should have advanced, but they were paired with a really hard, strong team that is apparently nationwide champions of speech and debate and mock trial.”

O’Gara said she is very proud of her students, despite the hardships they faced. “I wish I could do a time lapse so you could see how much improvement they make in six weeks,” she said. “We make them lawyers in six weeks!”

Junior Damien Knight, attorney for the case from victorious the yellow ,is excited and nervous about his victory. “For the first time I was actually doing it, I for a week straight felt great, but that starting to fade away because I have another one tomorrow,” he said. “But if I do well, I’ll probably feel really great afterward. I’ve just got to practice.”

Junior Madlen Jalalyan, prosecution and defense trial attorney, has similar sentiments as Knight. “I definitely feel proud and very happy, but also at the same time very nervous. I’m doubling up with the role I did two weeks ago,” she said. “I’m honestly kind of ready for the challenge because the teams that we faced weren’t as good as ours, I’m just going to be honest.”

“Mrs. O’Gara always says, we are not green and yellow, we’re the Clark team. So even though the green team didn’t advance but the yellow did, they’re still very proud of us,” Jalalyan added.