Mock Trial defamation case underway


Photo submitted by Jolie Anderson

Members of the Mock Trial meet to discuss this year’s case at Eckberg Lammers’ office. The team meets here on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. to work.

Dylan Stormoen, Copy Editor

The Minnesota State Bar Association brings to life another case for the 2018-2019 Mock Trial teams across the state. While working with the case of Hayden Brooks vs. Cahill Monitor, Stillwater’s Mock Trial team has a chance of competing for a state championship title once again.

Mock Trial is a high school law education program that introduces students to the American legal system. This club allows students interested in law to get a head start in applying legal techniques and strategies in a real life trial setting. Attorneys at Eckberg Lammers have volunteered to assist the team as they compete in each competition.

With the guidance of attorneys Jordan Feis and Kevin Sandstrom, students develop a strong defense and prosecution argument to the case they work on all year.

This year, the students are working with the civil case of Hayden Brooks vs. Cahill Monitor. Cahill Monitor is a newspaper company being sued by socialite Brooks for defamation and loss of monetary and non monetary profits and benefits. The lawsuit came after the newspaper company published an article about Brooks taking a bribe of half a million dollars to sway the county’s vote on an imprisoned man’s trial.

They ask you really hard questions and really dig into your character. You have to become that person and be able to answer those questions.”

— Michael Kaul

“It’s definitely a hard case to argue, which makes it more of a challenge and more interesting. Both sides are evenly weighted and either side could win each competition,” Jolie Anderson, senior captain of the Mock Trial team, said.

The team must create a case for both sides of the argument they are presented with. Each competition they go to may call for them to perform as either side. This calls for the students to be well-educated of all parts of the case so they can face the opposing team with confident and intelligent responses.

“They ask you really hard questions and really dig into your character. You have to become that person and be able to answer those questions,” Michael Kaul, previous advisor of the team, said.

Due to the varying sides of the case in competition, students also have the opportunity to play different roles on the team throughout the year. A student is able to be a witness or an attorney of either side. Often, students end up being a witness for one side and an attorney for the other. This allows them to see different points of views in a case and learn how each role is carried out.

In an article published on the Stillwater Area High School website, former volunteer advisor Amanda Prutzman said, “They have to be quick on their feet even when they don’t feel that way. They have to have the knowledge to shut their opponent down.”

The knowledge and skill set that students involved with Mock Trial learn, will become very helpful with potential college or career paths.

“You become comfortable using the vocabulary that they use, public speaking and being able to work with adults within that big of a career,” Anderson said. “You make the most amazing connections.”

The Mock Trial team gets the chance to analyze and prep each case in whichever way they feel is best. This year, the team is looking forward to doing just that while taking the Hayden Brooks vs. Cahill Monitor argument as far as they can and making it their own.