The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Pretend Attorneys Arguing Made Up Cases In Front of Real Judges: Let’s Take a Look into SLOHS’ Mock Trial Program

Pretend Attorneys Arguing Made Up Cases In Front of Real Judges: Let’s Take a Look into SLOHS’ Mock Trial Program

 This year’s Mock Trial team has many talented students. Photo courtesy of Mock Trial advisor and English teacher Sholeh Prochello.


  There are many clubs at San Luis Obispo High School, both social and academic, but one club that doesn’t get a lot of attention is the Mock Trial team. These students work hard year-round and have excelled in the county competitions this season.

  “Mock Trial is a club where students get to come together and experience what it’d be like in a real life court situation. We have attorneys and we have witnesses who work together on a case all throughout the year and try to prove their own respective side,” said sophomore Chloe Elliott. 

  With the team placing second in the county and finishing their season last night (February 15), Expressions decided to interview some of the club members to get a look into the inner workings of the Mock Trial club.

Expressions: What is your role this year, and what do you do?

Freshman Santiago Baltodano: I’m a motion attorney which is basically where at the beginning of each trial, I try to exclude certain evidence because I’m arguing that it was illegally obtained and unconstitutional. 

Sophomore Chloe Elliott: This year I am a prosecution attorney, so that means I’m trying to prove that the character is guilty of murder. What that entails is going through all the witness statements that are provided to us pulling out the information we want to know and formulating that into questions for an argument we make. 

Sophomore Zoe Fujii: I’m a witness. I memorize a script, and I have to speak from it as my character would. 

Junior Emily Kohler: I’m a defense attorney and I do the opening statement, which means I help formulate the argument defending the defendant. For the opening statement, I introduce the case and give a general overview. Also as an attorney, I’ll conduct direct and cross examinations of our witnesses. 

Junior Annika Miltner: I’m the defendant this year, so I am on trial. It’s a murder case every other year so basically, I have to defend myself [from the murder charge]. 

Expressions: Why did you join the club?

Baltodano: I joined it in seventh grade, mostly because my brother was getting into it and he was pretty good at it. I just thought, you know, might as well try it, and ended up enjoying doing it, so I just kept with it. 

Elliott: I knew some people in it already and they spoke highly about it so I thought it would be a good opportunity to just improve upon my own public speaking skills and also provide experience.

Fujii: I’ve done it since seventh grade and I already know it, so it’s a lot easier.

Kohler: A lot of my friends had done Mock Trial in middle school, and they always spoke really highly of the program. 

Miltner: I originally wanted to go into law when I was in middle school, and I was really interested in the role of an attorney, but now I’m less interested in law so I just do it because I love the program. 

Expressions: What’s your favorite part about being in Mock Trial?

Baltodano: When you’re really nervous to do the competition, then you actually get up there and you do well and you just feel it really accomplished.

Elliott: Working together with everyone and trying to work out all the different theories. Doing the competitions is also really exciting.

Fujii: The time after the trial is so much fun because then you get to bond with all the teammates.

Kohler: I’ve been doing Mock Trial for three years and working with a lot of the same people throughout it so I’ve gotten really close and developed a sense of family with a lot of the people that I do Mock Trial with. 

Miltner: The community is really fun. It’s just one of those things where the people that are in it, do it for a long time so we’ve all known each other for a long time. 

Expressions: Why should students try out next year?

Baltodano: It’s a very good way to learn about the law and it’s fun to do, no matter who you are.

Elliott: It offers a lot of great opportunities to experience different public speaking opportunities and meet other people who may have similar interests to you.

Fujii: We really want people who are passionate about law and it’s a lot of fun to be in the courtroom as a team. Everyone can really connect and become friends through it.

Kohler: It’s a super fun program, very welcoming. There’s a great sense of community, we’re a very tight-knit family and it teaches you a lot of important skills like arguing and public speaking and thinking on your feet.

Miltner: It’s a really fun program. If you’ve never done it before, it’s a great thing to learn from the people who have experience in the program.

  Congratulations to these students for their fantastic Mock Trial season! If students are interested in law or academic clubs then be sure to check them out at Club Rush next year.

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Vyolet Burrus, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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