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Mock Trial Team to Participate in Major Tournament

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Bishop O’Dowd High School’s mock trial team will square off against some of the brightest and most accomplished high school mock trial teams in the nation and beyond at the Empire San Francisco IV Battle by the Bay 2017, being held at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco), October 5-9.

Team members who will put their advocacy skills to the test include Logan Brockbank ’19, Anna Bullock ’19, Sophia Childs ’20, Samantha Colbert-Neal ’18, Jalyn Davis ’19, Ke Fang ’19, Samantha Jones ’21, Moriyuki Kano ’20, Bella Kocabiyik ’18, Aeon Levy ’20, Kyron Loggins ’19, Faith Odesanya ’21, Nathalie Rivera ’18, Malia Thornton ’18, Bella Walters ’19, Jordan Woods ’19 and Semayat Yohanes ’19. The team is coached by faculty member Bonnie Sussman. The case students will argue revolves around injustices in the prison system.

The students have engaged in considerable preparation for the tournament, including analyzing statutes and case law, studying the federal rules of evidence, constructing case theories and legal arguments, preparing direct and cross examinations, crafting opening and closing statements, and planning how to creatively portray witnesses in trial.

A first-time Mock Trial participant, Rivera, who has been active in the drama department at O’Dowd, is excited about putting her acting skills to use in a new setting.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know my character and speaking from the character’s perspective,” she said. “With Mock Trial you aren’t constrained by having to learn lines, and you are really put on the spot.”

Kocabiyik said Mock Trial has taught her how to “argue her point respectfully,” while Thornton has enjoyed the opportunity to fine tune her public speaking and problem solving skills.

The group could benefit from parent attorneys to help with preparation over the next few weeks, as well as participate as scoring judges at the competition. Please contact Bonnie Sussman if you can help.

The team will be doing dress rehearsals for the competition during the next two weeks and could use some attorney/parents, particularly those familiar with mock trial competition, who could come in and score the trials and give some feedback to the individual team members. Please contact Bonnie Sussman to volunteer.

Empire International Mock Trial Invitational Needs Attorneys To Score A Round of the Competition

The Empire Mock Trial Invitational is coming to San Francisco in a few weeks and is seeking attorneys who would be willing to score one of the four rounds of competition (Saturday, October 7, and Sunday, October 8), or perhaps the championship round (Monday, October 9).

Trials are all held in the Federal District Courtrooms in the Federal Building in San Francisco, 450 Golden Gate Avenue. No familiarity with the case is necessary, but if familiar with mock trial in general, that would be excellent. Contact Bonnie Sussman, O’Dowd Mock Trial Coach for specifics about volunteering and any questions.


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