The Wyoming Seminary Mock Trial team will advance to the State Mock Trial Competition after defeating Nazareth High School in the 2013 Regional High School Mock Trial Competition, held on Tuesday, March 12 in the William J. Nealon Federal Courthouse in Scranton.
The Sem team will represent Region 5 in state competition in Harrisburg on March 22-23. This is the fourth time in six years that the Sem team is competing in the state tournament. The competition will feature the top 12 Mock Trial teams in the Commonwealth.
Two members of the Sem team were honored with special awards. Co-captain and senior Caroline Reppert of Kingston received the Outstanding Attorney Award, whilejunior Salvadore Diaz of Avoca received the Outstanding Witness Award.
The competition, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, provides high school students with a firsthand experience of the American judicial system.
Mock trial teams argue a case before a judge and are evaluated based on their presentation, opening and closing arguments, direct and cross examination, poise and articulation, control of facts, and knowledge of Mock Trial rules of law and exceptions. Competitions involve two opposing high school teams who apply real-life statutes and case law to fictitious situations in a simulated trial setting.
In this year’s fictitious case, titled “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Tatum Zillias,” a prominent real estate developer in Philadelphia is on trial on charges of third degree murder. The developer’s crane, in operation during a period of high winds from a passing hurricane, crashed while lifting heavy roofing panels to the top of a major urban renewal project. Two people died as a result of the crash, and the commonwealth has brought murder charges against Zillias, asserting the defendant had willfully disregarded the health and safety of the workers and other people at the job site.