Cuyahoga Heights High Schools’ (CHHS) Mock Trial team advanced to compete in the Ohio Center of Law Related Education’s (OCLRE) Mock Trial Competition held on February 3 at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. This was the first time CHHS advanced since CHHS began participating in this competition in 2009. They will compete regionally on February 17 at the Ohio Statehouse.
"In my seven years of coaching Mock Trial, I have never witnessed a team consisting of all new competitors who advanced to regional competition," said advisor Martin Kosovich. “I was impressed with their ability to think on their feet and properly argue the minutiae of not only the case, but the rules of objections, exhibits, and the rule governing the competition. This group has much to be proud of!" Members of the CHHS team are Seniors Urja Chauhan and Alice Revay; Juniors Richie Crane, Kellon Katona, and Sophia Winslow; and Sophomores Kelia Goines, Jaymes Kleinsmith, Stosh Skoczen and Arushi Shinde. In addition to the team’s advancing to the regional level, Chauhan was named Outstanding Attorney and Winslow was named Outstanding Witness at the district competition.
The team has been preparing for their case since September 2022. After taking an offered law class, that is when they received a case regarding a student's Miranda rights. Guided by Kosovich and volunteer legal advisors, they set to work preparing to argue their case – from both the plaintiff and defense perspective. They set to work defining the legal question and reading through the case briefs, witness statements, and exhibits. Their next step was to develop a theory for what happened in an effort to help the courtroom understand the CHHS team’s argument.
Team members took on the roles of witnesses and attorneys. The witnesses had to memorize and own their statements. The two students who took on the attorneys’ roles worked on direct and cross-examination questions as well as their opening and closing statements. “Lastly, the team ran through the trial, while focusing on courtroom decorum, how to speak to the judge, and how to respond to objections,” said Kosovich. They also reviewed the rules and regulations that govern the courtroom.
Under the rules of the competition, each team had to compete in two trials against an opposing high school team. In one of the trials, teams argued for the prosecution and in the other trial, for the defense. A team had to win both trials or the majority of their judges ballots in order to advance to the regional competition.
Other area high schools that participated included Brooklyn, Independence, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Nordonia, and North Royalton. In all, more than 2,000 students took part in the district contest.
Ohio Mock Trial is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition and among the largest high school mock trial programs in the nation. Sponsored by OCLRE, the Ohio Mock Trial takes an innovative approach to acquainting students with the field of the law, courtroom procedures, and how the judicial system works.
#1: The CHHS Mock Trial Team
#2: Pictured left: Urja Chauhan; pictured right: Sophia Winslow