Melrose High’s mock trial team is competing in region nine of the Mock Trial competition. They play against neighboring districts and 140 cities and towns in Massachusetts. In these competitions Melrose competed against Everett High, Lynn Classical, Lynn English, Lynn Vocational, Malden Catholic, Malden High, Medford High, Revere High, and Winthrop High. “It’s like March Madness: broken up into brackets,” says Mr. Alperen, a Melrose High English teacher and the coach of Melrose High’s mock trial team.
The trials are created by real lawyers and officials, and were real cases at one point. The cases presented by the mock trial teams are heard in front of real judges.
Mr. Alperen explained how this year is a “civil case” and the “burden of proof lies on the plaintiff. These cases are tougher to prove.”
Mr. Alperen described how television gives the audiences the illusion that cases are solved easily. “However, it’s very complicated with a lot of procedures.” Mr. Alperen claims that it is very rewarding when “your team wins a case because you’ve worked so hard.”
There are thirteen students at Melrose High on the mock trial team this year: Matt Cornelius, Jack Eccles, Marco Garofalo, Claire Halderman, Olivia Izzi, Emma Leyne, Connor Locke, Connor Meade, Antonia Penta, Mike Polcari, Aidan Swan, Ian Swan, and Lily Tucci. Ian Swan and Jack Eccles are the captains. The students practice their parts at least two hours a week.
The Melrose High mock trial team had a scrimmage at BC High Saturday, December 14th. There was no official scoring, but Mr. Alperen believes BC High outscored Melrose High.
“We found our strengths and we definitely have stars in the making.” Mr. Alperen said.
Melrose’s first meet against Everett on January 23rd at the Lynn courthouse ended in a loss, but the team claimed a victory against Revere on January 27th. The team faced Winthrop on February 3rd, but lost after the judge gave Winthrop the win.
“That’s called ‘subjective ruling,’ and the judge felt [Winthrop] went more smoothly.” Mr. Alperen said.
The reason the judge felt this way was mainly because Melrose had a last minute change in position due to an illness. Connor Locke took over for Emma Leyne. Mr. Alperen said the case was exceptional because the meet resulted in a tie even with the last minute changes.“Most of these trials seem to favor one side over the other and this year they favored the side of the plaintiff.” Mr. Alperen said, explaining how Melrose beat Revere. “Not only did we win on points, but we argued a better case.”
Melrose completed the preliminary round with a score of 1-2, and Melrose did not advance into the next round.
“We definitely established ourselves as an affordable ‘firm’.” Mr. Alperen said.
By: Christian Hashem