Despite Exeter Loss, AMT Gains Valuable Experience

At the end of a daylong competition, Exeter’s Mock Trial Club defeated its Andover counterpart in the third annual Mock Trial competition between the two schools. Twelve Andover students traveled to Exeter this past Sunday to compete in a series of trials organized by both the Andover and Exeter Mock Trial clubs. Students participated in two trials, with each school alternating between prosecution and defense. Each club split its competitors into two teams of six to partake in each trial. This year’s event marked the first Andover/Exeter competition to be hosted at Exeter. Exeter’s club invited two students from Harvard University to serve as the judges for the trials. Andover’s prosecution team lost the first trial, and Exeter’s club received both of the judges’ votes. Andover and Exeter split the judges’ votes in the second trial. Exeter Mock Trial won the competition with a total of three votes in the end, compared to Andover’s one vote. Both trials involved a case that concerned an adult counselor at a summer camp who unknowingly created a forest fire and killed two people. The case focused on the legal issues of manslaughter, negligent homicide and the destruction of wild lands. Jenny Zhou ’11, Co-President of Andover Mock Trial, said, “It was a good competition and the cases were excellent.” Mock Trial cases aim to allow both the prosecution and defense to have equally convincing arguments. The trials present advantageous facts to both teams. Danny Gottfried ’12, a participant in the event, said, “I thought the case was very well written. Although it’s impossible to make [the competition] completely even, it was as close as possible.” The prosecution and defense both consist of three witnesses and attorneys. Gottfried provided witness statements for the prosecution, acting as a 12-year-old boy who attended the summer camp. Two types of Mock Trial cases exist, civil and criminal. Andover Mock Trial alternates the model its uses on a yearly basis. This year, the club focused on criminal cases, which usually involve crimes like murder. Tina Su ’11, a member of the Senior Board, said, “It was the first time that many of us did a criminal case. Criminal cases are usually easier and more entertaining.” “I got really into it. There was a point where I was screaming at a girl and the other lawyer got mad at me,” Su continued. Gottfried said that he thought the trial was one of the most interesting and exciting conferences he had ever attended, especially with Exeter as the club’s opponent. “The stakes were very high, since it’s always competitive when you’re facing Exeter,” said Gottfried. Zhou said that despite the fact that Andover Mock Trial has met for a much longer time than Exeter’s club, the event presented learning opportunities to both sides. “It was a very good experience. It was interesting to see how Exeter ran their trials and how their club was different from ours,” she said. Wayne Byun, Co-Head of Exeter’s Mock Trial Club, attended the event, but did not participate in the trial in order to provide guidance to the less experienced members of the club. Byun said, “I was very proud of our team, since this was Exeter’s first home trial.” “I think everyone had a good time. [Andover Mock Trial] was well prepared and had great voices and attorney skills,” said Byun. “I really thought we were about even, despite the results.” The judges presented three awards at the end of the competition. Prizes included Best Moment, Best Attorney and Best Witness. Zhou won Best Witness, and Cat Cleveland ’11, Co-Head of Andover Mock Trial, received the award for Best Moment. Gottfried said, “I really enjoyed myself. Competing in Mock Trial has been a new experience for me. I’ve learned a lot about law, public speaking, and other skills that I’ll use in my life.”