L to R:

Mock trial team wins Regions, heads to Nationals

Mitchell’s mock trial team will compete for a national title next month in New Orleans, after winning the Ohio regional of the National Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

L to R: mock trial official, Nathan Lockwood, Cory Gagne, Jessica Rajtar, Thomas Priebe, Judge Richard M. Markus (seated)

The team, Thomas Priebe, Cory Gagne, Nathan Lockwood, and Jessica Rajtar, prepared by scrimmaging against another Mitchell team on the weekends leading up to the competition.

“We also had past trial team members come in and judge our presentations,” said Rajtar. “I think the scrimmages and the feedback really helped us hone our skills for the actual competition. The competition itself was very well run and the teams were very competitive. It was very exciting.”

The Mitchell team took on Cleveland State University, Case Western University and Capital University, narrowly beating Capital in the finals.  The event is sponsored by the American Association for Justice along with Trial Guides, a legal media company.

McGee competition

Mitchell also recently sent two teams to the University of Minnesota’s William McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition.

Mitchell team reacts to the decision

At that competition, teams argued whether an urban renewal plan would violate the Fair Housing Act. The plan would displace low income housing occupied predominantly by African American and Latino residents in favor of a higher priced housing development.

Will Peltier was on one of the Mitchell teams, going 2-1 with partner James Brailsford. AnJuanna Napue and Mari Kempton also represented Mitchell.

“It’s always good to get practical experience, and the judges challenged us and forced us to effectively advocate for our positions until they were completely satisfied with our argument,” Peltier said. “The preparation and practice we received allowed us to be prepared for the competition, and will linger when we begin to practice on our own.”

“The students put in a lot of hard work” says Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Juanita C. Freeman ’08, who coaches the team. “I was proud of their presentations and effort.”