When I first entered the courtroom, I was captivated by the atmosphere. Although this was my first experience of attending the Mock Trial at Brooklyn Federal Court, the entire process was so reminiscent of the true trial in which a serious and professional judge dressed in a robe, an objective jury, and two counsels. As this significant procedure was held in the morning, everyone was quite cheerful and ready to fight for the truth.
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It seemed as if their Counsels’ confrontation could lead to a real explosion in the court. The tone of the trial was official and serious because it can be deduced from the official clothing and expressions on the participants’ faces. But it was especially interesting for me is whether the law can fairly justify the accused guilty or innocent.
At the first stages of the procedure, the Counsels succinctly and accurately presented the scope of the case. The defendant was accused of murder, but the motives of the crime were unknown. First, the Council of Defense, Mr. Thornfield, revealed the misconceptions and controversies concerning this case. In particular, he said that both his client Mr. Derek Thomson and Miss Gallaher, had had equal opportunities for committing the crime.
The problem was that the detective, nevertheless, allowed her to leave the country. The Counsel of the Defense looked quite persuasive and professional; his speech was consistent; his gestures and mimics were sufficiently reserved. Mr. Thornfield was, indeed, the embodiment of style and professionalism, although this character was played by an average student. I cannot tell the same about Mr. Foster, the Prosecutor who behaved a bit unceremoniously while conducting cross-examination.
While watching the procedure, I was enjoying the cross-examination conducted by Mr. Thornfield. His questions were quite consistent and narrow and did not impose any ambiguity. However, I was a bit astonished by the scene when Mr. Thornfield was trying to stand his point of view by disapproving of the Prosecutor objections. This was a true justification of a real lawyer. Once he heard the word “Objections!” he skillfully replied:
Your honor, we do not offer this particular question the truth of the matter. Rather, we are trying to point out the reason for the conflict between two prosecution witnesses’ stories, which illustrate the dishonesty of one of the testimonies. Perhaps, this can be a viable motive for murder.
I believe that this particular explanation and his other assumptions were purely objective and logical, as he was relying on facts only. In comparison with the Counsel of Defense, Mr. Foster was unable to present viable evidence and arguments for organizing the backfield.
I have always wanted to see the process of cross-examination and the way both Counsels presented their material evidence and documents either to support a hypothesis or to repudiate it. This time, all the presented testimonies sounded quite true and realistic. All actors looked natural, and there was not a single sign that this was just a competition between the students. I was especially captured by the witness’s testimony provided by Miss Courtney, who managed to act like a person who had been concealing an important truth that would have helped to detect the crime much easier. To my surprise, brilliant Mr. Thornfield made the impossible and managed to unmask the witness.
For some moment, I even forgot that this trial was not real because all remarks and dialogues, judge’s speech, prosecutor witnesses were performed quite realistic. So, even students’ slightest gestures and intonation were highly professional and artistic.
I could not but pay attention to Prosecutor’s intensive speech before the Jury. Mr. Foster desperately tried to bring clarification to the evidence presented by the Counsel of Defense to show that they are not valid. Certainly, his logical inferences and conclusions made some sense, but, in my mind, the Prosecutor backed the wrong position, which was primarily based on some lyrical digression.
However, I used to watch movies where other impudent prosecutors were doing the same to prove the guilt. Who knows, maybe this is the only way to lock up the defendant. Like in most stories, the culmination appears at the end of the story when the Counsels pronounced their final speech in front of the Jury and were waiting for the doom moments. The Jury has put forward the reached verdict – not guilty. Cries of joys, exclamations from the audience – that we’re the only scenes I remember.
In conclusion, the Mock Trial did not look like a Mock Trial, but a veritable court procedure with a real case, a serious jury, and a judge. So, I was satisfied with the participants’ attitude to the competition as well as with the procedure results. All the outcome of the trial was predictable and banal; this competition was one more attempt to prove that good and law should prevail over the criminal world. Besides, this was a great experience for me to watch a real confrontation of prejudices, evidence, and arguments.