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SDSU Mock Trial pleads its case on campus

Courtesy of Mock Trial

Courtesy of Mock Trial

by Kayleigh Venne, Staff Writer

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San Diego State’s Mock Trial organization gives its members the opportunity to experience what it would be like to participate in an actual trial out in the professional world.

The organization mostly appeals to criminal justice and political science majors, however it does not turn away perspective members and accepts anyone who makes it through tryouts. Many theater majors also join Mock Trial to practice their acting and presenting skills for future roles.

Criminal justice senior Gaby Rosales is the current Mock Trial president and was one of the founding members.

She spends her time as president coaching members rather than competing herself.

“Everyone gets assigned a role,” Rosales said. “Either as a prosecuting attorney, defense attorney or witness. (Members) are either the victim, the defendant, the police officer or even the victim’s friend or child. It’s just like that to make it lively and just like real life.”

To join Mock Trial, students audition for the role of attorney or witness while being judged by practicing attorneys and the club’s officers.

SDSU Mock Trial receives a case in August, and focuses on it for the entire year, leading up to its scrimmage in November at the University of California San Diego.

The organization competes at the scrimmage against other Southern California chapters to prepare for their regional competition in Los Angeles at the end of February.

The competition is open for the public to attend.

The club has previously tackled civil cases that surround issues like discrimination and police entrapment.

This year however, the organization will be dealing with an attempted murder case.

“This year it’s murder, so we are really excited,” Rosales said. “I do want to go to law school and I do want to study criminal law, so this is something that is right up my alley.”

Not only does Mock Trial give aspiring attorneys a taste of what being in the courtroom is like, but the organization also provides its members with many opportunities to network for their career.

The team is judged at the competition by practicing attorneys in the field.

This provides Mock Trial members the opportunity to network and establish professional connections.

Rosales said that prior to her presidency, the club’s main focus was the competition aspect of the organization.

She now feels that it is important the organization guides its members by providing insight on how to get internships related to the law field.

International business junior Kyndall Slotemaker spoke highly of her team.

“The best part about Mock Trial is that it is truly a home for any aspiring attorney on our campus,” Slotemaker said. “The lasting friendships and connections are definitely irreplaceable. It has been an unforgettable, challenging and highly rewarding experience that I am so proud to be a part of.”

Mock Trial currently has over 45 paid members and two attorney coaches.

Rosales said that this is the first year the organization has two competing teams due to its large size.

“It is an organization where you can’t really be nonchalant about it,” Rosales said. “We want people who are going to take it seriously.”

Auditions have already passed, but Mock Trial accepts members year-round. All newcomers start at a lower level than the veteran members.

SDSU Mock Trial meets every Thursday from 4 – 6 p.m. in the Visionary Suite of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union and Mondays from 7 – 9 p.m. in Professional Studies and Fine Arts room 436.

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