The Mock Trial program completed its season by participating in the Somerset County Mock Trial competition on Thursday, January 9. For 38 consecutive years, the New Jersey Bar Association has been creating a case to distribute to all teams in the state. This year's prompt was sent in September, involving criminal charges that revolved around the death of a police dog. Since this was a criminal case, the state/prosecution needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted knowingly and purposely with the intent to harm a law enforcement officer which, in this case, was a dog.
In preparation, students were assigned specific roles to be played in the trial. Members of the team met twice a week to develop arguments for each side, including lines of questioning for their witnesses on the stand during the competition. To better cross-examine the opposing teams, they also developed questions for the opposition.
After weeks of practicing, and a scrimmage against schools outside Somerset County, Gill students were ready to present their cases at the championship trial in the Somerset County Courthouse. They presented in front of practicing New Jersey judges and attorneys, and they were judged on the effectiveness of their presentation of the case, knowledge of details, filing objections in accordance with Mock Trial rules, and convincingly portraying assigned roles.
Margery Schiesswohl and Christine Chan are the faculty advisers, and they are very proud of how the students performed in the competition. "They were unwavering in their hard work and determination," said Schiesswohl. According to Chan, "Our students represented our school in such a dynamic way with their teamwork and captivating performances."
Gill's defense team won against Rutgers Prep, while the plaintiff team lost to Montgomery High School. Four students were recognized for exceptional work: Mary Jane Granito '22 and David Frankel '22 both won an award for Best Witness, and Sofia Laboy '21 and Philip Vayntrub '23 both won an award for Best Attorney.
Congratulations to all the members of the team for a great showing!
First Row (left to right): Kasey Neron '20, Jessica Jose-Narrete '22, Emilia Tobey '21, Emily Smith '20, Carrie Lotito '21, Mary Jane Granito '22
Second Row (left to right): Philip Vayntrub '23, Sydney Lapper '21, David Frankel '22, Sophia Laboy '21, Phoebe Kirsh '22