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St. Mary’s Middle School Mock Trial

November 12, 2015

Storm Lake St. Mary’s Middle School students competed at the middle school mock trial regional competition November 7 at Rock Rapids. Several students were recognized by judges for their outstanding performances within the case.

The St. Mary’s team included Toby Jones, Emily Nothwehr, Aron Villegas, Erika Petersen, Danika Demers, Emma Snyder, Marlene Cortez, Francisco Gonzalez-Vazquez, and Sam Peters.  Angel Tapia, Keegan Larsen, and Samantha Limones served as alternates for the team. Laura Anderson and Angie Siefken are the team coaches working with attorney coaches Brett Redenbaugh and John Murray. Megan McDaniel was the student coach.

 Storm Lake St. Mary’s Middle School mock trial team. Front row – Emma Snyder, Angel Tapia, Danika Demers, Samantha Limones, Marlene Cortez, Toby Jones. Back – Francisco Gonzalez-Vazques, Emily Nothwehr, Erika Petersen, Keegan Larsen, Ben Peters, Aron Villegas and attorney coach Brett Redenbaugh.

Mock Trial is a program that not only introduces students to the foundations of our legal system but also is an avenue for students to develop skills in public speaking, critical thinking skills, and teamwork. Across Iowa more than 2000 students participate each year. The Iowa State Bar Association released case materials at the start of the school year and practices have been underway since as the team prepared both sides of this case. At completion, students presented the case twice: once on the side of the prosecution, and once on the side of the defense. The participants assumed the roles of either a witness or an attorney for each side of the case and competed against another school.

This year’s case was the State of Iowa vs. Ty Tanney . Following a small town festival there was a tragic accident on St. John’s River. A local teenager, Hammie Stanford, was struck and killed by a boat. The state presented a case of Tanney’s intoxication, reckless behavior, and claimed he caused Stanford’s death. The defense attorneys asserted that Tanney’s boat was not the only river that night, their client was targeted by the local sheriff, and supplied conflicting testimony of Tanney’s behavior that night.

Storm Lake St. Mary’s Middle School mock trial team. Front row – Emma Snyder, Angel Tapia, Danika Demers, Samantha Limones, Marlene Cortez, Toby Jones. Back – Francisco Gonzalez-Vazques, Emily Nothwehr, Erika Petersen, Keegan Larsen, Ben Peters, Aron Villegas and attorney coach Brett Redenbaugh.