Mock Trial at Tosa West

Mock Trial at Tosa West

Ella Jones

A dead body is found at the bottom of a cliff, floating in the water. There are some major injuries on the body, but there is no sign of a struggle. Someone stands at the top of the cliff, looking down at the deceased with tears in their eyes. Did they push the victim off the cliff? Or were they just a bystander? These are some of the questions that students are asking this year in Mock Trial. This year’s case has been highly anticipated. 

For the first time in four years, Wauwatosa West’s Mock Trial is finally studying a criminal case. More specifically, a homicide case. The first meeting was held on September 8th, but new students are still able to attend the meetings. Students are encouraged to join the Mock Trial team at the next meeting on November 1st, in Room 217.

“[In Mock Trial] you get to try out new things, like acting, improv, and public speaking. [Mock Trial] also helps you get better at note-taking and annotation. [The club] really benefits you in a lot of ways,” said Junior Claire Davis, who played an attorney last year. 

Mock Trial is perfect for all students here at West, but especially those who are considering a career in the legal field. Students study a fake case published by the Wisconsin Bar and work with practicing attorneys to develop arguments. Their task is to prove that the defendant is either a cold-blooded killer, or a wrongfully accused victim. 

“The thing I’ve enjoyed about Mock Trial over the years is watching students grow throughout the year, as they learn more about the legal system [and] as they get deeper and deeper into the case. I’ve enjoyed watching how they take on roles within that case, and it’s fun just watching students figure out how they’re going to play that role,” says Christopher Benes, the teacher advisor for Mock Trial. 

In Mock Trial, students can choose to either play an attorney role or a witness role. The attorney role fits students that are interested in the legal aspect of a case. Attorneys get to question high-profile witnesses and convince a jury that the defendant is either guilty or not guilty. The witness role fits students who are interested in the theatrics of the courtroom. Witnesses get to fully immerse themselves in the personality and quirks of a character in order to answer the questions that they’re asked. Some students even have to get into the mind of an accused killer. 

Students form close bonds with one another through weekly Mock Trial meetings. Students are able to see their peers grow and come out of their shells as the season goes on. 

“My favorite thing about Mock Trial is the community that we [build] throughout [the] competition season,” says Senior Aryana Street, who also played an attorney last year. 

Students feel a sense of pride and satisfaction when they are finally able to display all of the hard work that they put into the club throughout the year. 

“My favorite part about Mock Trial is definitely the competition. Although it’s very stressful, it’s really fun to see the fruition of your work,” says Davis.

The Mock Trial season has just started, and it’s not too late to join the team. If you are interested in joining Mock Trial, or if you have any further questions, contact Christopher Benes in Room 217, or email him at [email protected]. The team hopes to see you on November 1st, in Room 217, for the next meeting!