LHS Lawghorns Update

Lanier Mock Trial

Lanier Mock Trial

Have you ever stuck up for someone who couldn’t stick up for themselves? Do you ever feel relieved or happy when you finally get your point across? Or whenever you watch Law and Order, do you ever think to yourself, “I want to help those who can’t defend themselves.” If this is you, then you should join Mock Trial. It’s a good place to start if you are interested in being a lawyer or merely just learning about it.
For those who aren’t aware, Mock Trial is “a group of students who are interested in the law [or] pursuing a career in the law,” according to Mrs. Sisson, the lead coach of Mock Trial. “We spend the season preparing an actual trial. We split them into attorneys and witnesses and they [the students] [spend] the first half of the season [preparing] their case…and then [in] the second half of the season, we compete against other schools in the region,” continued Mrs.Sisson. Prior to this year though, there were other coaches before her, and Mock Trial has been around in previous years. It began the year Lanier High School was built back in 2018. “It’s been here for a while,” said Mrs.Sisson, “I just took over from the previous coaches.” Being a teacher isn’t her only job, she is actually an attorney! According to her, “I took over simply . . . because I have that law background.”
Every student has their own reason for joining different extracurricular activities, whether for a career path or for other personal reasons. Jackie McNair, a senior, elaborated on why she decided to join Mock Trial. Before, she wasn’t able to join it because of the clubs that she was in previous years, but now, for her last year in high school, she decided to join, stating, “Senior year, I wanted to do Mock Trial . . . because it was the closest thing we had to a debate club, and I like to argue with people.”
Furthermore, a student named Timothy Son, a senior, gave a reason for why he joined Mock Trial, starting back to when he was a sophomore. “I first joined Mock Trial when I was a sophomore,” said Son, “I was starting to get an interest into [a] legal career, and I wanted to know [what] it is like being in a trial setting. I also wanted to improve on my public speaking skills, and I thought Mock Trial would be perfect for it!”
Of course, before you go to trial, you need to have a case. According to Jackie, “We got the case materials on October 29, 2021, and [that’s when] we found out that it was a criminal case.”
I asked Mrs. Sisson what the case was about, and this is what we know: The case tells a story about “[a woman] that had gone through a lot of trauma in her life. She had been a part of a carjacking in a previous robbery at a gas station. She was working the night shift at a different gas station, and [then] . . . a guy who was 23, . . . a gang member, [and] part of the previous carjacking . . ., came in and looked like he was about to . . . rob the gas station again…When she felt threatened by him, she pulled out . . . a gun and shot [him] four times.” The point of the case was to prove “whether or not she was justified in shooting him.”
On the day of the trial, the plaintiff and the defense each present three different witnesses, according to Timothy Son. “They [the witnesses] answer their questions in a way that would help their own side of the argument.” To Son, the fun part of the competition was the Cross Examination because, “The opposing side’s attorney comes up and asks you leading questions. They will try to expose your weak[est] side.” Furthermore, the results of the competition isn’t whether the plaintiff or the defendant won; it depends on the amount of points you receive. According to Son, “Attorneys are evaluated on their understanding of the case and legal processes and witnesses on their performance. After four rounds of [the trial], the scores are compiled accordingly with each school. Although Lanier won rounds three and four, we didn’t advance to the next level of [the] competition.” In order for schools to move to the next level, they had to be placed in the top three. One thing that Son wanted to state was that he was “very proud of all our members for giving all their efforts and making it to 4th [place] in the regionals this year.”
These are the following schools that we competed against: North Gwinnett, Duluth, Greater Atlanta Christian, and Johns Creek.
If any of you are interested in becoming a lawyer or just into the structure of law, go talk to Mrs. Sisson in trailer T-8 for more information. Again, congratulations to the Lanier Mock Trial on getting 4th place in the regions, we love yall!