Mock trial heads to state competition

Morgan Koehler, Reporter

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 The D.C. Everest Senior High Mock Trial team is going to state again this year.

   On March eighth through 10th, the DCE mock trial team competed in the state competition which took place in Madison.

   Every year, the mock trial teams are given a fictitious case to act out. Each member of the teams are placed into a role, just about every role you can imagine except the judge, who are actual judges or attorneys.

   The advisor of the Mock Trial team at D.C. Everest, Mr. Travis Greil, said they went to state six times in the last six years. This year, the only team that beat them all year was the team from Whitefish Bay High School. Last year, they placed second in the state competition.

   They placed first in the regionals five times in those six years, and the one time they lost was to their own school district. The D.C. Everest school district has two mock trial teams and that year they happened to be competing against each other.

   “We’re kind of the school’s best kept secret,” Mr. Greil said. “We don’t even prep for regionals anymore. We prep for state.”

   The team lost one round, so they will not be continuing on to nationals. They placed either fifth or third. This confusion is due to one of the judges incorrectly filling out a form.

   Mr. Greil said that mock trials are part debate and part acting.

   “When we look at it, our students are given a case that has all the evidence a lawyer would be given. We prepare a case for both sides, defendant and prosecutor, then when we compete, we compete for both sides,” Mr. Greil said.

   Lily Bliven, senior at D.C. Everest Senior High, is part of the DCE Mock Trial team.

   “At the beginning of each school year we are given a hypothetical case,” Bliven said, “This case includes the criminal complaint, what the defendant is charged with, the burden of proof, affidavits of the witnesses as well as exhibits. Based on this information we prepare both the plaintiff arguments and the defense arguments. When we compete we don’t know which side we will be presenting until we get into the courtroom. There are six witnesses and three lawyers on each team. I was the lawyer for the expert witnesses, Peyton Allanson and Remington Mossberg.”

   The case this year was a school shooting. The school had a Weapons Prevention Program which allowed teachers trained by the local police to have a weapon in a locked safe in school. These teachers would be able to use their gun if they thought there was a threat. These teachers were Civilian Concealed License Holders.

   The school operations manager, Kelsey Grammar, heard what she thought was a gunshot and initiated the hard lock down procedure. She was a Civilian Concealed License Holder. Tim Riggins, a student, was unarmed and when he entered the classroom, he was shot three times by Grammar. She was charged with first degree reckless homicide. The defense argued that Grammar was lawfully acting in self defense or the defense of others. Grammar was being persecuted by the state.

   The witnesses were Billy Jones, teacher of the classroom they were in, Sam Smith and Dana McCarthy, students and eyewitnesses, Peyton Allanson, the responding officer and expert witness, and Remington Mossberg, expert witness, and the defendant, Kelsey Grammar.

   Mr. Greil said that the experience is intense.

   “Students have said that it was the most intensive experience they’ve ever had,” Mr. Greil said.