CCHS Mock Trial's Outstanding Performance at the Los Angeles Mock Trial Competition

Nicholas Yoo

Mock Trial is one of the most unique and engaging clubs, providing an experience like none other at Culver City High School. An invaluable opportunity is supplied to students to immerse themselves in the American judicial process, allowing one to utilize teamwork, rational thought, and dedication to participate in a rigorous yet fulfilling club.

Club meetings are given an extra layer of involvement as students not only meet weekly on Thursdays, but also able meet on Sundays at the house of a local attorney. During these club meetings, members are dedicated to learning and preparing various roles necessary in a court case, and Sundays are especially valuable due to the advice of an experienced professional. Every minute of these club meetings is essential as the practice, memorization, writing, and peer review all culminate in November during a county wide mock trial competition. Members are able to sign up for roles in either defending or prosecuting roles, pitted against other schools in a trial about more topical issues.

This school year, the competition was fierce, with up to 90 schools participating in this competition. An actual courtroom is utilized to facilitate the hearings with a real judge present to add to the immersion and experience. The competition is organized so that different schools serve as either defense or prosecution, utilizing the typical courtroom dynamic to test preparation and argumentative abilities among the teams.

This year’s mock trial competition was particularly interesting because of the trial that teams had to tackle: a murder case known as People v. Matsumoto. The case covers the fictional murder of Taylor Matsumoto, who was murdered by their spouse, Bailey Matsumoto, after suspicious circumstances, leading to diverse conclusions on motive, method, and death of Taylor Matsumoto.

Of course, a tinge of contemporary topics is included, adding complexity and nuance to the case and wildly varying the possibilities of the verdict. With such potential for drama, this was obviously a breath of fresh air, as the subject of murder naturally has heightened intrigue and possesses a completely different potential in regards to the range of human interactions.

This year, the club president Piper Samuels remarked how the “team was really confident” and “passionate about the case”, which may have led to their outstanding performance in this competition. The effort and resources of the club definitely paid off, as though the Culver City team did not finish in first place, they definitely provided a worthy effort, beating out more than 81 other high schools to reach the quarterfinals and end in a tie for 9th place.

With only a simple interview and sign up, anyone interested in competition, rigor, and the experience can participate in this mock trial competition. Those who are argumentative may find Mock Trial particularly interesting, while any person who desires education in the American court system and current events will also fit right in. Theater students may especially find Mock Trial interesting for the sheer variety of roles they can potentially fill, particularly as witnesses. Mock Trial has a little something for everyone, creating a unique and versatile experience which should definitely be considered by all.