Senior Chris Wickham addresses the judge during a mock trail competition at the Douglas County courthouse. Wickham was the defense attorney during the trial.
Senior Chris Wickham addresses the judge during a mock trail competition at the Douglas County courthouse. Wickham was the defense attorney during the trial.
Jennifer Hadley

Wickham Works to Right Wrongs

Antler mock trial team representative lays down the law

The verdict is in: Elkhorn High’s Mock Trial team of “lawyers” has been working criminally hard on the trial that has been assigned to them by the Nebraska Bar Foundation. 

Although the cases are fabricated for high school competitions, the environment of the final trial is simulated to imitate the real-life legal process as closely as possible. Senior Chris Wickham, a four year veteran on the team, and this week’s Antler of the Week, explained what an average mock trial looks like.

“For Elkhorn, we’d have our three lawyers and three witnesses and the other school will have their three lawyers and their three witnesses,” Wickham said. “We’ll go into the courtroom and argue with each side.”

The courtroom for the most recent case was the Douglas County courthouse, where Wickham stated that although the “presiding judge” is not an actual judge, this person is a practicing attorney in the state of Nebraska.

On each Mock Trial team in the state, members are either assigned the role of a witness or a lawyer. Although the witnesses receive a predetermined backstory attached to the case, Wickham said he feels that role comes with its own unique challenges.

“I think one of the hardest parts mainly comes with the witnesses,” Wickham said, “they have to memorize their entire witness statement, and then go up on the stand in front of all the people”

While he has knowledge about what it takes to be a witness, Wickham took the role of a lawyer in the most recent trial. As a lawyer, the preparation process looks a little different than that of a witness.

“As the defense lawyer, I have a client who was accused of taking a picture of classified information,” Wickham said. “Basically, I have to defend him on that charge.”

As a group, the Mock Trial team practices regularly in order to be ready for the day of the trial. With all the detail that goes into these fictional cases, the meetings cover a range of areas that need preparation.

“Some practices we have to go over objections or memorizing the witness affidavits,” Wickham said. “Other practices, we do full run-throughs of the trial. So sometimes it varies, but they usually last about two hours.”

Although it clearly takes a lot of work, Wickham has remained committed to Mock Trial since his freshman year. Looking back on the years, the senior recalls a particularly rewarding moment of this experience.

“One of my favorite memories was probably my sophomore year, going out to celebrate making it to the final four,” Wickham said. “Because it’s such a competitive thing, it was one of the first times Elkhorn had made it that far.”

 

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