Mock Trial Unravels the Mystery of a Family Murder


Photo By Junhee Ryu

Junior Mahum Khan and sophomore Lavanya Gupta observe their case packets to try to come up with strategies which will enable them to create strong arguments.

Junhee Ryu, Co-Business Manager

A brand-new case was delivered to the hands of the mock trial club members on July 12. Throughout the season, they will decide for themselves the outcome of the trial by competing against other schools.

The case is titled “People vs. Matsumoto,” in which the victim, Taylor Matsumoto, has been found dead after arguing with Matsumoto’s spouse on the issue of their son’s death and being intoxicated the night before. The prosecution attempts to prove Matsumoto’s spouse is guilty, while the defense attempts to prove otherwise.

Each club member will take on a role either as an attorney or a witness for the prosecution or the defense side. The club has already planned out a specific process for each individual role so that the meetings become clearer and more concise.

“I remember, in the beginning, it was very difficult because we ourselves didn’t know what was going on and we didn’t have a guide to help us,” club president and senior Dheitshaa Bala said. “But, now because we have three years of experience, we are definitely helping newcomers, but we also know what to expect.”

New members have been well-integrated to the club by student leadership and the help of other experienced members that know what it feels like to participate in competitions. Now with all four grade levels, there is a more structured process to work with newcomers by having them be familiar with their individual statements first and coming up with questions to make an argument.

“I’m excited to watch them sort of transition their power role because we do have seniors now that will be leaving, so they’ve been really focused on getting the newer members involved in how to run mock trial,” social studies teacher and club adviser Kathryn Beechinor said. 

Beginning its fourth season, the club intends to perform much better than last year and place into one of the top eight teams in California by getting a head start into their case packet and tackling roles using prior knowledge and experiences.