Winsor School repeats as Mock Trial State Champion

Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014
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Images from the 2014 Mock Trial Competition. Photos by Jeff Thiebauth.

In a rematch of last year's state final, the Winsor School of Boston defeated Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School of South Hadley to repeat as State Champion in the 29th annual High School Mock Trial Program presented by the Massachusetts Bar Association.

The Winsor School advances to the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Madison, WI, May 8-10. A portion of their trip will be funded by a donation from the Mass. Bar Association's philanthropic partner, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. The championship marks the third state title for Winsor since 2010.

Faneuil Hall's Great Hall served as a historic backdrop for the more than two-hour trial between two teams that have combined to win six of the last 10 championships, including the last five. Pioneer Valley won in 2005, 2011 and 2012.

Winsor School represented the plaintiff, the child of a stunt pilot who died performing an advanced aerobatic maneuver, who asserted that the defendant, Carborite Aircraft Inc., failed to design the plane to withstand the standard amount of g-force necessary for a stunt plane in order to save money. Pioneer Valley represented the defendant (Carborite), who contended that the plane was designed correctly, and that the plane's maximum permitted g-force was only exceeded because of the negligent actions of the pilot.

Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead presided over the mock trial, and was assisted by Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman and Superior Court Judge S. Jane Haggerty. The judges commended the students for performing as well as the seasoned lawyers they see in their actual courtrooms each day.

"It is certainly an honor to serve as a judge of the Superior Court and to participate in such a direct way in our democracy. However, it is even a greater honor to come to this beautiful building, which is known as 'the cradle of liberty' and participate in teaching young people about the workings of that democracy," said Judge Whitehead. "Although we say it every year, it is a fact that the students have performed as well as actual trial attorneys."

"It's incredible to be here in a location where our forefathers made decisions that shaped our country," added MBA President Douglas K. Sheff in his address to the students. "You are the future trial lawyers. Regardless of today's outcome, all of you have already won by making it this far."

The annual competition places high school teams from across the state in simulated courtroom situations where they assume the roles of lawyers, defendants and witnesses in hypothetical cases. A total of 139 teams competed in this year's competition which featured 211 trials, 106 judges and more than 40 court venues across the state. The program is administered by the Mass. Bar Association with support from the Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation Corp. and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF).

MBF President Robert J. Ambrogi was on hand to congratulate the Winsor School Mock Trial Team and present them with a contribution of $2,500 to help with travel costs as they advance to compete in the national competition in May.

Click here to view event images.