Sharon High School’s composed defense wins 2007 Mock Trial state championship

Issue May 2007

Acomposed and consistent strategy of impeaching the commonwealth’s witnesses proved to be the difference as Sharon High School won the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 22nd annual statewide high school Mock Trial Tournament held March 29. Salem High School was the runner-up in the finals, which were held in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall.

Sharon High School’s team of mock defendant, attorneys and witnesses successfully defended their client from a pedestrian-auto accident that would later result in a fatality and eventual vehicular homicide charges. Acting as prosecutors, Salem High School’s team of prosecutors, investigators and witnesses sought to portray the fictitious teenage defendant — who was driving home from a house party — as reckless and irresponsible.

“Your poise and confidence in the trial setting was truly spectacular,” said Superior Court Associate Justice Barbara A. Dortch-Okara, the presiding judge for the finals, addressing the two teams following the judging. “The techniques you employed are on a par with those of upper-level law students. And, both finalist teams demonstrated an extraordinary level of confidence and preparation.”

“The respect you showed the court and one another did not go unnoticed,” said Norfolk County Juvenile Court First Justice Mary M. McCallum, a scoring judge.

“Yours is a wonderful approach to the law and one which is long forgotten.” The members of the Sharon High School team are:
Josh Bernard, Matthew Birnbaum, Josh Block, Elissa Edwards, Marissa Edwards, Carly Figman, Samantha Goldstein, Faisal Khan, Jeff Klipper, Adam Maidman, Dominique Mann, Adam Miller, Rachael Pilch-Loeb, Daniel Resnick, Ethan Richman, Jon Rittenberg, Sam Rittenberg, Leo Schwartz, Mark Trilling, David Tuteur, Dana Weinstein, Jenna Weinstein and Alex Wolff. The teacher coach is Tanya Perkins. Lawyer coaches are Jack Mikels of Jack Mikels and Associates LLP in Quincy and Steve Rosenthal of Steven B. Rosenthal, Attorney at Law, Boston.

The members of the Salem High School team are Dexter Anderson, Drew Anderson, Amanda Arno, Archita Benvie, Amanda Buckley, Evan Buso-Jarnis, Ray DeLeon, Molly Gachinard, Alyssa Garland-Fry, Devin Jeffers, Edward Keenna IV, Vanessa Marshall, Danielle Pegnato, Maureen Regan, Paul Schuesler, Jake Spector and Judith Ternes. The teacher coach is Nancy Lincoln. The lawyer coach is Raymond D. Buso of Raymond D. Buso, Attorney at Law, Salem.

“The direct examination of witnesses by both teams was very good,” said Superior Court Associate Justice Howard J. Whitehead, a scoring judge. “In a case such as this, there were a lot of facts to establish and both sides did this efficiently and effectively.”

“It is fitting that the MBA’s Mock Trial finals be held here in Faneuil Hall,” said MBA President Mark D Mason during opening remarks. “This venue has served as a beacon for preserving the civil justice system, as the ‘cradle of civilization’ for a fledgling nation, and the longstanding site where attorneys are admitted to practice in Massachusetts.”

Before the competition began, Mason spoke informally with both teams urging them to relax and to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

After the competition, Massachusetts Bar Foundation President Carol A. Witt presented Sharon High School with a $2,500 travel grant to defray the costs of the team’s trip to Dallas, where they will represent Massachusetts in the National Mock Trial Competition this month.

The road to the 2007 Mock Trial finals began in January with more than 1,500 students competing and representing 118 schools across Massachusetts. There were 220 trials held at 57 trial venues. A total of 191 attorneys or judges presided over the trials.

For the ninth consecutive year, the program was sponsored by Brown, Rudnick, Berlack & Israels LLP in