Comedy in the Courtroom

Aztecs compete in mock trial competition

Mock+Trial+students+prepare+before+their+competition+on+Feb.+5-6+at+the+County+Courthouse+in+El+Paso%2C+Texas.

Photo by Keidy Palma

Mock Trial students prepare before their competition on Feb. 5-6 at the County Courthouse in El Paso, Texas.

By Keidy Palma, Copy Editor

After months of preparation, the 2020 Texas High School Mock Trial Competition arrived for the  mock trial team. On Feb. 7, students loaded the bus and headed downtown to the El Paso County Courthouse, eager and prepared to compete. 

The 2020 mock trial case was about a failed comedy festival and inspired by the real-life debacle of FYRE festival. In the mock scenario, the prosecutor sued the defense for defrauding the public and knowingly advertising an event they knew was bound to fail. Students from many high schools around El Paso uniquely formed their own distinct version of the case that would guarantee their win. 

“I think it was really interesting that the case related to a real-life event, the Fyre Festival,” sophomore mock trial member Paola Duran said. “It was also really cool to see how each individual team thought of a different way to go about the case in order to win.” 

El Dorado students took the entire morning before competition to prepare and polish up their case. Initially, they experienced some setbacks due to the busy schedule of the students, the difficulty in finding enough members, and being unable to find lawyers to help prepare the students.

“Although I do not think our team reached its full potential, I was surprised and proud of the growth that we experienced in such little time,” sophomore Brandon Smithson said.

Being able to compete in a real court house, in front of real judges and lawyers, the students were excited to get feedback from these experienced individuals. The mock trial members had a chance to sit in the jury box in court — a highlight of the competition day. 

“I was the timekeeper for the event, which entitled me to sit in a real jury box in front of real judges,” sophomore Victoria Sanchez said. “This was my favorite part of the event and the highlight of my weekend.” 

During this two-day event, students competed in three bi-rounds against Austin High School, Mission Early College High School and Cathedral High School. Although students did not qualify for the finals, they’re confident that with more preparation and commitment next year, they will be able to not only qualify for finals, but also state. 

“My hopes for the team next year are that we make it to state because I genuinely think our team has the potential to get there,” Duran said.  “If we begin preparing from the beginning of the year and have 100 percent commitment from the entire team, there will be nothing to hold us back.”

The mock trial team pose outside the County Courthouse on the day of their competition. (Photo by Keidy Palma)