“People v. Torres” Mock Trial Performance  


Ilona Harutyunyan

The Mock Trial Team left to right: Tristan Willstout, Hrant Galdunts, Gohar Gevorgyan, Ani Nazaryan, Natalie Hovhannisyan,Maria Mesropian, Amaras Mehrabian, Agustin Tahmasian, Ian Ho, Maria Mesropian, Elena Khudaverdyan (Top first row). Aline Melconian, Zhanna Arabkertsyan, Emily Simonyan, Eleftheria Kappa, Diana Avetisyan, Minehli Hatamian, Aida Pogosyan, Amna Fadel, Carla Alexanian, Gohar Chobanyan, Aylin Tsarukyan (Second row). Nuneh Nair, Emily Markarian, Celia Tahmasian, Milena Poghosyan,Alique Yepremian, Ilona Harutyunyan, Nare Babakhanian, Arman Rostomyan (Third Row). Irena Haroutiunian, Erwin Rostamlou, Lelit Hanna, Yuzuna Kudo, Annie Laterovian (Bottom fourth row).

The Mock Trial class hosted a performance that showcased the legal skills of its students. This class is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in the legal field, where they can learn about the law and courtroom etiquette. The performance took place on the 22nd of April in the school Auditeria. After students and the teacher coach Melissa O’Gara introduced themselves, the trial officially began.

The performance was based on a fictional court case which involved Macy Williams and her tragic death. Macy’s step-sister, Spencer Torres, was accused of murdering her. The prosecution had to defend this claim while the defence had the responsibility of proving her death was a result of suicide. The case of “People v. Torres” was complex and the students took on various roles, such as bailiff, attorneys, or witnesses, and worked collaboratively to present a compelling case. 

The presiding judge, judge O’Gara, is a legal professional with over 30 years of experience in the field. The judge was impartial and fair, providing clear and concise instructions to the attorneys while ensuring that the trial proceeded smoothly. Mr. O’Gara said, “I thought the performance was fantastic. The kids performed without any notes in a 2 and half hour trial.” After the prosecution’s side rested, the judge announced a 10 minute intermission. During the intermission, snacks such as SkinnyPop popcorn and water were provided for the audience. This allowed them to take a break from the trial and enjoy some refreshments before the second half of the performance.

The attorneys demonstrated impressive legal skills by presenting persuasive arguments. The witnesses were able to answer both direct and cross examinations while entertaining the audience. An impactful performance was given by Emily Simonyan, a senior student who portrayed the mother of both Macy and Spencer. Her emotional outburst against Spencer contributed to the entertainment value. Simonyan added, “I wanted to characterize Jamie, the character I portrayed, as a grieving and pained mother. I really admire Mock Trial for giving me the chance to explore my creative and performative side, where in another life, I would have become a famous actress.”

Maria Galstyan, the president of the Mock Trial program, delivered a strong closing argument that left a lasting impression on the audience. Her persuasive and professional argument helped to sway the audience in favor of her client, adding to the overall success of the performance. “A big part of my closing was just expressing how frustrated I was with the other side’s argument,” Galstyan said. “I didn’t agree with the prosecution for pinning the blame on an innocent teen, and wanted to make sure that the audience saw that the defendant was innocent.”

The jury was made up of more than 160 people from the audience. After hearing both sides, they were asked to raise their hands if Spencer was found guilty or innocent. The jury’s verdict was  that Spencer was innocent of all charges and she was free to go home.