North Point’s mock trial team learns from experts
Current and prospective members of North Point High School’s mock trial team went on a field trip last month to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. according to a news release. The trip started with a quick history of the court. It is not military court, but made of a panel of civilian judges. While all current judges have served in the military, it is not a requirement to be a judge in the court.
After the overview of the court and its procedures, the students observed the court in action and witnessed oral arguments from a case presented to the judges. Anna Newton, the mock trial team’s sponsor and coach, met with Judge John E. Sparks and discussed many topics, but mostly about the team’s accomplishments this past season, the students and their goals, the release states.
The students met with Sparks in his chambers to talk about the history and role of the court, the law, Sparks’s experiences in the military and the legal field. Sparks also gave advice and words of wisdom to the students. Sparks stated that life is an intersection of opportunity and preparation. You never know when opportunity will happen — it will happen at some point, but if you work on being prepared at all times, then you will be able to take advantage of those opportunities as they present themselves, Sparks said. While he stated that he was “not a wise man,” he gave advice based on his experiences and stated that he “just happened to walk the Earth longer” than everyone else in the room.
Sparks said he grew up during the Civil Rights era and the inequality faced by minorities during the time inspired him to go into law. Asked if he ever had an issue with defending a guilty person, Sparks said he never asked a client if he was guilty or not. He saw guilt as irrelevant because guilty or not, it was his job to make sure his client got a fair trial.
Most mock trial members at North Point had some interest in the law before coming on the trip, but as a result of this trip, they have an increased passion and excitement for it, Newton said. Almost all of the mock trial team members said they would enter the legal field in some way.
Students who attended the trip included senior Brianna Baker, juniors Kennedy Harris, Kyle Smith, Jhanna Maldonado, Nadia Corbett and Jessica Spencer, and sophomores Apryle Bennett and Alexis Lepe.
Judge John E. Sparks, a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, left, met with members of North Point High School’s mock trial team during a recent field trip. The students were accompanied by teacher Anna Newton, a coach for the team.
North Point High School’s mock trial team recently took a field trip to Washington, D.C., and met with law professionals. Team members pictured are Kennedy Harris, left, Kyle Smith, Brianna Baker, Apryle Bennett and Alexis Lepe.