2017 Mock Trial Tournament News - Finals!
(March 24, 2017) BOSTON, Mass. - The Winsor School of Boston was
today named State Champion of the Massachusetts Bar Association's
2017 High School Mock Trial Program. The state title is the
school's fourth championship in the last five years and fifth state
title since 2010.
Next up for the Winsor School is the National High School Mock
Trial Championship in Hartford, Connecticut, May 11-13. A portion
of their trip will be funded by a $2,500 donation from the
Massachusetts Bar Association's philanthropic partner, the
Massachusetts Bar Foundation.
The Winsor School and Newton North High School competed in a
two-hour mock trial in Faneuil Hall's Great Hall. In the fictional
scenario at issue, the Winsor School represented the prosecution,
the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Newton North represented the
defendant, a recent war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) charged with first degree murder. The Winsor School was
victorious in both the decision of the case and the overall scoring
of the match.
This year's judging panel for the state finals was Hon.
Howard J. Whitehead (ret.), presiding justice, Massachusetts
Superior Court; Hon. Kenneth V. Desmond Jr., Massachusetts Appeals
Court; and Hon. Lisa Grant, Boston Municipal Court.
"I am humbled by the fact that I am playing a role in the
continuing history of this great building," said Judge Whitehead,
in reference to the historic Faneuil Hall venue. "I congratulate
the students on their outstanding performance. Every year it's the
Massachusetts Bar Association President Jeffrey N. Catalano
provided welcoming remarks and encouraged students to continue
using their advocacy skills to support just causes. "Take the
advocacy skills that you have learned in this program and the
passion you have for justice, and use that in whatever way you can
in your life," urged Catalano.
Started in 1985, the Massachusetts Bar Association's Mock Trial
Program began its 32nd year in January. The competition places high
school teams from across the state in simulated courtroom
situations where they assume the roles of lawyers, defendants and
witnesses in hypothetical cases. More than 1,500 students at 132
high schools competed in this year's competition.
The Mock Trial Program is administered by the Massachusetts Bar
Association, with support from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and
Morrison Mahoney LLP. More than 100 lawyers across the state
volunteer as coaches and judges
Mock Trial Program Background
Newton North and the Winsor School earned their regional titles,
quarterfinal, semifinal and final berths by competing in trials
throughout January, February and March. More than 1,500 students at
more than 130 high schools across the state participate in the
annual program, in which students turn their classrooms into
courtrooms to assume the roles of both lawyers and witnesses.
This year's fictional case involves a defendant on trial for
murder. The accused is a recent war veteran who raises as an
insanity defense the medical condition known as post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) to the charge of first degree murder. The
case explores whether the defendant is actually suffering from PTSD
and whether PTSD is a complete or mitigating defense to the crime
which the defendant is accused of committing. The task of the
prosecution will be to prove the defendant's culpability for his or
her actions, while the defendant's challenge will be to establish a
defense that will excuse, in the eyes of the law, some or all of
the defendant's responsibility for his or her actions. This
hypothetical case gives participants an opportunity not only to
learn about a serious mental health issue, which faces many
returning veterans, but also how the current state of the law
addresses or fails to address the effect of PTSD in explaining
otherwise criminal behavior.
The MBA's Mock Trial Program, which began in 1985, is
administered by the Massachusetts Bar Association, with support
from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and Morrison Mahoney LLP.
More than 100 lawyers across the state volunteer as coaches and
Morrison Mahoney LLP sponsors MBA Mock Trial
Morrison Mahoney LLP recently contributed $5,000 to the
Massachusetts Bar Association's Statewide High School Mock Trial
Program. It joins the Massachusetts Bar Foundation as the primary
sponsors of the 2017 mock trial season.
lawyers at Morrison Mahoney have participated with our Mock Trial
Program as attorney-coaches or judges for a number of years, and we
are very grateful for the firm's involvement this year as a
sponsor," said MBA President Jeffrey N. Catalano. "Morrison
Mahoney's generous sponsorship allows us to give students around
the commonwealth an unmatched opportunity to learn about our legal
system and experience the law as an advocate firsthand."
First organized in 1985, the Mock Trial Program's tournament places
high school students in a simulated courtroom to assume the roles
of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case. Thousands of
students at more than 130 schools across the commonwealth are
participating. More than 100 lawyers across the state will serve as
volunteer coaches and judges.
The Mock Trial Program is
administered by the Massachusetts Bar Association with funding, in
part, by the generous contributions from the Massachusetts Bar
Foundation and the law firm of Morrison Mahoney
©2017 Massachusetts Bar Association