Mock Trial Qualifies For Play-offs, Making it to Top 16 in the County


Amelia Luong

Mock trial visited Santa Ana’s Central Justice Center on Nov. 2, 9, 14 and 16 for the first four rounds of the competition. “With mock trial, you’re going to a real courthouse. You’re talking to a real judge. It’s insane,” senior Amelia Luong said.

Mock trial will advance to the county-level playoffs on Nov. 30 for the second year in a row after defeating  Tarbut V’Torah K-12 on Nov. 16 in the fourth round of the “People v. Franks” case. The trial was held in front of a judicial judge at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, for the first time since 2019. 

The trial followed an altercation over stolen rings between actors Billie Scher and Jordan Franks, the latter of whom is being charged with robbery and battery. The case is argued by two sides—the defense, which tries to show Franks’ innocence, and the prosecution, which tries to prove Franks’ guilt.

“I’m very happy,” prosecution opening attorney and sophomore Katie Le said. “This is our second year in a row with making it, third time in Portola history, and I want us to learn from our mistakes and go forth with a positive mindset noted to try to win this hard chapter.”

According to club team manager, defense opening attorney and senior Amelia Luong, through the highly competitive trial atmosphere the team received helpful feedback for the remainder of the competition season.  

“There was a lot of court procedures that we weren’t familiar with,” Luong said. “But we held our ground. We put up a pretty good fight. The judge was super receptive. So he’s the kind that will challenge you to challenge an objection or to stand up and speak louder.”

The team prepared extensively, meeting in pre-trial, attorney and witness groups for around four hours each week, according to club vice president, witness and senior Anishka Durvasula. Many members learned to step outside of their comfort zones and experience the different perspectives in a courtroom environment as their roles can often change, according to Luong. 

“We like meeting outside, which really helps create a strong community sense which in turn translates in creating a stronger team dynamic,” Durvasula said. 

The team will return to the courthouse on Nov. 30 for the first playoff rounds.