By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
New Glarus mock trial team to compete in regional tournament
Mock trial team members are shown at the team's special exhibition performance of the trial in the New Glarus High School auditorium. Team members are, front row, from left: Michael Schieldt, Alexys Strahm, Katy Way, Madison Perkins, Olivia Woodmansee and Tessa Sheridan. Back row, from left: Katherine Gregory, Kerry McCoy, Jane Thurow, Daisy Rivera and Annalee Kaiser. (Photo supplied)
NEW GLARUS - The New Glarus High School mock trial team will compete in its 12th tournament Saturday in Janesville.

Before they compete against teams from across southern Wisconsin, the students are responsible for mastering a manual with over 80 pages of rules and procedures, and 25 pages of witness statements, exhibits and legal standards. They assume roles as either lawyers presenting the case and making arguments or as witnesses who must make a convincing presentation of their facts. The witnesses are then cross-examined by student attorneys from other teams before the panel of three judges use points to decide which side has "won" that particular trial.

This year's case involves a lawsuit claiming damages for injuries suffered by a young homeless woman while being arrested. Was it a case of vicious and unprovoked police brutality or was the officer justified in taking extreme measures to subdue an uncooperative and combative individual?

In the case, Sammie Smid (played by Daisy Rivera) was enjoying a day in the park when police Officer Robin O'Reilly (played by Jane Thurow), acting on a reported theft of a purse, approached her. Smid suffered from a chronic seizure disorder that was triggered at least in part by the officer's questioning and demands. Smid tried to tell the officer she was suffering from a "seizure," but O'Reilly apparently thought Smid said she was going to "seize your" gun. Smid's friend, Bo Marks (played by Annalee Kaiser) witnessed the tussle, as did passerby Francis Underwood (played by Katie Dunham). The case winds up with a battle of the police procedural experts, with Axel Foley (played by Alexys Strahm) testifying for the plaintiff and Carter Marcus (played by Michael Schieldt) supporting the defendant. The plaintiff's trial lawyers are Katherine Gregory, Kerry McCoy and Tessa Sheridan, and the defense lawyers are Madison Perkins, Olivia Woodmansee and Kati Way.

The students have been meeting weekly since October to analyze the case, prepare their roles and work out their arguments. They will compete against seven other teams from other southern Wisconsin high schools at a full-day tournament held Saturday in the Rock County Courthouse, 51 South Main St., Janesville. Presentations will begin at 8 and 10 a.m. and at 1 and 3 p.m.

Parents and spectators are welcome to attend any or all of the tournament trials.

For more information, contact the teacher coach, Lexa Speth, or the attorney coaches Faun Phillipson or Dan Gartzke.

The mock trial program is prepared and financially underwritten by the State Bar of Wisconsin. The New Glarus mock trial team also is supported financially by a cash donation from the Green County Bar Association. To view the full mock trial materials, visit: