Mock Trial Competitions Carry on in a Virtual Courtroom

While many activities and events have been postponed this year, Chaminade High School Mock Trial has been hard at work, at least in the virtual courtroom. The program, which boasts three Los Angeles County championships (2015, 2016, 2018) and top-four finishes at state, has two teams competing this fall.

For the first time, Chaminade was selected to compete in the Empire Championship, a tournament that features the top mock trial programs from all over the United States and even a few international teams. Representing the Eagles are 14 seniors from the class of ’21, most of whom have been part of the program since their middle school days. The Empire case, People v. Wilder, is extremely challenging, featuring hundreds of pages of testimony and exhibits to prepare, so students started prepping in the summer. In this case, the defendant faces a mandatory life sentence required by the three-strikes law for an attempted burglary.

The Chaminade junior varsity team will represent Chaminade in the Los Angeles County competition beginning Monday, November 2. The team features 20 freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who will present People v. Croddy. Lee Croddy, a celebrity activist YouTuber, is charged with aiding and abetting a burglary and accessory after one of their fans steals confidential documents from a government agent.

Like many real trials these days, both competitions will be held over Zoom, but Chaminade is more than up to the challenge. The teams have been coached virtually for the last three years by Jennifer and Bert Bader. After 11 years at Chaminade, the Baders moved to South Carolina. The virtual setup did not stop the team from success, though. In the first year of coaching the teams virtually, Chaminade won their third LA County Championship and made another appearance at the state championship in Sacramento. 

The teams are extremely grateful for the opportunity to compete this year and hope to add to Chaminade’s mock trial legacy, even if it’s over Zoom.