Mock Trial brought to early defeat

Diamond Bar High School’s Mock Trial team saw its 2020 competition season come to an end after a 499-493 loss in the semifinals. The team placed in the top 12, but was eliminated by the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies on Dec. 3.

The case for this year’s season was “The People v. Croddy,” highlighting a theft of government documents perpetrated by popular YouTuber Lee Croddy and fan Remi Montoya. The case centers on its entanglement with Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination and the precedent set by the 1996 court case “Miranda v. Arizona,” which established that police must read a criminal suspect their “Miranda rights.”

The team’s Top 12 placement is a step back from previous success, after having placed second in the last two competition seasons.

“There were a lot of things that went right this year,” junior Mingyu Lu said via Messenger. “Our pretrial arguments were some of the best, witnesses had both personality and hit their marks, [and] attorneys were great in controlling witnesses and objecting.”

Liu also mentioned that he hopes the team will maintain its strengths and build on its weaknesses for the next competition season.

“We made it to the top 12 out of about 80 teams,” head coach Latitia Thomas said. “We came in second place the last two years and we thought we were going to come in first this year.”

Despite the team loss, multiple members shone individually in the court proceedings, earning a variety of accolades.

“Out of almost 80 teams in LA County, our own Emily Chen was awarded Best Defense Pre-Trial Attorney,” Thomas said. “We found out that Joshua Chou, our courtroom journalist, was awarded third place for his submission.”

Some team members said that they believe the Mock Trial team’s early demise could be attributed to the virtual conditions they were forced to adapt to. Whereas other area schools have been able to reopen and practice together–including LACES, which defeated the DBHS Mock Trial team–Diamond Bar High School has remained closed to the majority of extracurriculars, and has also prohibited any club gatherings.

  “With everything being in an online setting presents its own challenges with communicating and connecting with others,” senior Attila Bionki said via Messenger. “This was a slight challenge in the beginning of the Mock Trial season since I was a stranger to many, but with these individuals being very welcoming, we all very quickly bonded and became more than a team.”