The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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Mock Trial prepares for upcoming State competition

Bill Moore
The North Mock Trial team at the Kane County Mock Trial Tournament.

Built around live performances of fictitious court cases, North’s Mock Trial team will be performing in the state-level competition at University of Illinois-Springfield on March 16-17.

“It’s really fun to see students get involved,” said Lori Keough, the club’s adviser, “They want to be lawyers, or they’re interested in the law, so it’s really fun to watch them over the course of a season just continue to work hard and improve.”

The mock trials themselves consist of student performances of fictional court cases, with each club member either playing the attorneys in the case or different witnesses that will be brought up to the stand.

“We do a lot of teaching,” said senior Jolina Spejcher, one of Mock Trial’s two captains. “We have new members who we teach how trials work, how to make every part, objections, which are kind of like the fun part. We’re making rosters, we’re taking notes during the trial, we’re giving feedback, it’s always constant feedback, and constant changes to our parts.”

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Mock Trial also provides learning experiences for students with an interest in legal careers.

“I definitely prefer [playing] defense,” said Elliot Johnson, Mock Trial’s other captain, “Because that’s what I want to go into for a career, I want to do criminal defense work or appellate work.”

Being built around convincing a jury of one side’s correctness, and providing the most convincing argument, a level of dramatization is often required when performing.

“As a witness, it’s a lot of trying to connect to the jury,” said Spejcher, “When you’re up there and you’re being directed, you want all the attention to be on you, because what you’re saying is very important to the case, so I try to add story elements into my direct examinations to make it more interesting.”

The Mock Trial season begins when the Illinois Bar Association, the state of Illinois’ legal association, sends out a case at the beginning of November, which becomes the focus of the competitive season.

“We get a case from the State of Illinois at the beginning of the season,” said Keough. “And we’re just working on one specific case for the entire season. Scrimmages start normally before winter break, and then after winter break is when we have all the regional tournaments.”

Tournaments feature teams taking both the role of the prosecution/plaintiff and defense in different rounds.

“Each team does both sides, one at a time,” said Keough. “So the tournaments you play either as the plaintiff or the defense first and then you play as the other side for the second round. Depending on the tournaments, sometimes there’s a round for the finalists and other times they just give you first, second, and third place. Everyone gets judged on the two rounds and gets scores on the two rounds, and then depending on what tournament you’re in, you get to do a third round.”

In general, Mock Trial makes a significant effort to include all interested individuals in their activities, and to help teach them about the legal system.

“We do a lot of teaching for the team about the law and about the case,” said Elliot, “We have other people on our team who do more organizational stuff, and we have people on our team who do more fun activities, more bonding stuff.”

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Thor Nelson, Staff Writer
Thor Nelson is a writer for the Stargazer. He is a Junior at North and has been on the staff since 2021. Thor engages in student journalism because informing the student and teacher body of current developments in their school helps produce a healthy environment of learning.

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