Defense strong for Mock Trial team at regional competition

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- The Hudson Mock Trial team found some success at the 2014 Regional Mock Trial competition Feb. 21, but not enough for a trip to the state meet.

The defense team won their arguments, but when arguing the prosecutor's side, the team fell short which cost them a trip to states.

The Hudson Mock Trial teams from Hudson High School are coached by attorney Sarah Hulburt. The three teams, named after Civil War generals, competed in the district competition, with the Grant team moving ahead to the northeast Ohio regional competition Feb. 21.

The Akron Bar Association sponsors the district and regional competitions, which take place in the Summit County Courthouse.

Hudson competed as the plaintiff against Tuscarawas Central Catholic, which went on to the state competition March 6-8 in Columbus, Hulburt said. The score was close but Hudson lost to them in the morning competition.

The trial went over the time because the three judge panel asked questions, Hulburt said. The questions altered the structure of the competition, but there is no appeal process.

In the afternoon the Hudson Mock Trial team played the role of defense and beat Lisbon High School.

"The way I coach, it is more pro-defendant, and we're better at defense," Hulburt said. "We won that one by a lot."

The Hudson Mock Trial team consists of Hudson High School students who take on the roles of attorneys, witnesses and the defendant. This year, the case called "Occupy Wall Street" was about a fictional high school that agrees to license naming rights to its field to a large corporation and soft drinks. When students protest the decision, the school district installs security cameras and searches the students' lockers. The student claim the school district violated their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.

Junior Taehan Lee won Best Attorney for his performance. Yun Cao and Chris Kim won Best Witness awards. The team won a total of nine award, a school record, for the district and regional competitions, Hulburt said.

"Competing at regionals was such a thrilling honor," Hulburt said. "To establish a school record in the process made it that much better. I am so proud of these young Hudsonites."

Hudson Mock Trial Grant team consisted of Taehan Lee, Yun Cao, Chris Kim, Danny Kim and Kelly Niewolak.

Other team members of Hudson Mock Trial, seniors Bridget Sciscento and Kristin Van Deusen, led by Captain Carolyn Turkaly, supported the team and provided lunch for them.

"Diversity is our strength, because we each bring our own talents and interests to the collective team," said Hulburt.

Notable memories on the day included Taehan Lee's cross-examination, which competition Judge Stephen Funk, Akron Bar Association president, noted in post-trial comments "built to a crescendo," and was "absolutely marvelous."

Fellow competition Judge Kandi O'Connor remarked on Lee's use of objections, which "can be used strategically to break the rhythm of the opponent."

Danny Kim conducted the direct-examination of the award-winning performance of twin Chris, who played the main character in the trial.

"We began preparing for regionals back in September, at our first meeting," said Hulburt. "The twins, from day one, listened, practiced and asked questions in preparation for this day."

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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