Malden High School’s mock trial class partook in investigating the case of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Stephanie Hardee in a mock criminal case in the library on Apr. 29, 2015. The case consisted of a the defense, prosecution, judge, jury, and witnesses who were all portrayed by mock trial students. The defense looked to prove Stephanie Hardee’s innocence whereas the prosecution sought to prove her guilt.
The case concerned Stephanie Hardee, reenacted by Sarah Rosatone, who killed her son to supposedly protect her granddaughter Hanna Kumar, played by Kaitlyn Gibson, who was a victim to Hardee’s son’s abuse. Senior Ajla Talic, lead council for the defense, explained that “as a class [they] spent about three to four months preparing…[by] reading and taking notes on [their] trial packet that had all the affidavits, and basically gave a detailed outline on what the case was on.” Talic further stated, “After [they] understand the case, [they] are assigned roles based on what [they] like, and then... you ... work on questions, practice with your side, and basically build a case for your side.”
Talic did the opening statement along with a cross examination of the police officer Sergeant Sam Bush, reenacted by Jovante Pullum, who was one of the witnesses at the scene of the murder. The defense also included seniors Cheyenne Dow and Jackie Munroe, juniors Stephan Fequiere and Terrica Dang, and sophomore James Mac.
The prosecution included Seniors Brianna Duffy, Alyssa Figuerido, and Jonathan Decicco along with other members of the mock trial class. Duffy gave the prosecution’s opening statement as well as performed a direct examination of Sergeant Bush.
The trial examined several witnesses as well as the medical examiner of Hardee’s son. The jury determined that Hardee was guilty of manslaughter but not first degree murder.
Talic commented that “mock trial helped [her] with [her] confidence as well as public speaking.” “Mock trial allows you to step out of your own life, and take on a role larger than you could have imagined.” She gained a better understanding of the way the court systems work and “ most importantly the class taught [Talic] lessons that [she] will be able to use for the rest of [her] life.” Duffy is in agreement with Talic that the class teaches about “working together with other people to become better in debating.” “It made [Duffy] realize that law is something that [she is] really interested and may want to pursue more during college,” added Duffy.
Mock trial has a great impact on students and aids them in public speaking as well as inspires them to further their knowledge of law.