Cam High’s Mock Trial Team Introduces New Changes


Ian Lattimer

Photo by: Ian Lattimer Mock Trial meeting on Monday, October 16, 2018.

Cam High’s 2018 Mock Trial team will consist of one team with 25 members after the program lost half of their coaching staff.

Mock Trial is a competitive program that prepares its members for a courtroom simulation where they argue a case that changes with each year. The teams are normally split into two separate groups: a prosecution and a defense team. The teams makeup one complete team to tackle that year’s case. 

In order to be a member of the team, an audition in front of the coaches is required. A week later, the results are posted on Mr. Shawn Near’s classroom door, D-3. However, the coaches were more selective this year, allowing only one to three new students to join. The team normally has 50 members.

Three coaches did not return for this year’s competition season. Longtime Mock Trial coach George Hultman passed away late last year and his absence is deeply felt by members of the team. Philip Denny was unable to return due to a difficulty in handling his commitments after law school graduation. Denny coached the school’s team for one year. Melanie Morrow coached for five years, and left for an assistant principal’s position at Valencia Valley High School in Santa Clarita.

The returning and new members are required to tryout for different positions, such as attorney. A large amount of students graduated and dropped from the program, making it easier for the teams to condense.

“Pretty much [the coaching staff] is myself, a free trial attorney, and Dick Diamond who is one of our other long time attorneys. So, for that basic reason, we’re going to go down to one team,” said Near, “There’s always a possibility for all of us who are still here, and [if] we can handle one team, then we’re going to make a second team next year.”

There are conflicting views on the condensing of the team. Amanda Chisholm, a fourth year member of Mock Trial and senior, said, “I definitely think that there will be more effects. The returners won’t be able to get leading roles or bigger parts that they would be expecting. [It is] going to actually cause a lot of people to quit.”

Sarah Foote, senior and third year member of Mock Trial, said, “I personally support it because I feel like it makes the team much stronger… and I feel like the last year we were spread too thin, so this year we can focus our efforts into one team. It’s much better.”

According to Near, Mock Trial will likely return to two teams next year.