SIDEBAR Spring 2017 - 28



Jenkintown High School "Team A" to Represent
Montgomery County in the Statewide Competition
By Lydia S. Terrill, Esq.


wenty-six teams from all over
Montgomery County competed
in this year's High School Mock
Trial Competition. On Tuesday, February
28, 2017, in a trial presided over by
President Judge Thomas M. Del Ricci,
Jenkintown High School "Team A"
beat out Plymouth Whitemarsh High
School "Team B" to become this year's
winner. The jury consisted of a panel
of distinguished attorneys and leaders,
including Chief Public Defender Dean
Beer, Esq.; Sheriff Sean Kilkenny, Esq.;
District Attorney Kevin Steele, Esq.;
Joan Orsini-Ford, Esq.; Greg Gifford,
Esq.; Patrick Kurtas, Esq.; Eric Smith,
Esq.; and Paul Troy, Esq. Jenkintown
"Team A" will move on to compete at the
statewide competition in Harrisburg for
the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania
in the national competition in Hartford,
CT in May.

pre-trial motions, stipulations, witness
statements, and exhibits. In addition
to thoroughly familiarizing themselves
with the case materials, the students
are expected to become proficient at
addressing pre-trial matters, making
objections, citing the rules of evidence,
and introducing and authenticating

The Pennsylvania Statewide High
School Mock Trial Competition, which
began in 1984, gives students from
over 300 teams across Pennsylvania the
opportunity to prepare and litigate a
case in the courtroom in front of actual
judges and jurors. In early November,
the students are given a packet of all
the information needed to prepare the
case, including the criminal complaint,
probable cause affidavit, jury instructions,
memorandum and opinion addressing

This year's case, Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania v. Taylor Edsel, was an
arson case involving a catastrophic fire
at an automotive company on the eve of
launching a revolutionary new vehicle. At
issue was whether the defendant, Taylor
Edsel, an employee of the automotive
plant, started the fire. Taylor Edsel
happened to be a former arsonist who
served time in prison as a teenager for
burning down the family home. While in
prison, Taylor underwent therapy and was


In February, the Montgomery County
Courthouse fills with students who have
spent the previous three months preparing
their case. Each team consists of student
attorneys and witnesses, supported by
their teammates, attorney advisors, and
faculty advisors. Each trial is presided
over by a Montgomery County judge and
juried by a panel of attorney volunteers.
The teams advance through quarter-finals
and semi-finals, with the remaining two
teams competing in the final round at the
end of February.

taught coping mechanisms to deal with
these tendencies; however, the question
remained whether Taylor was truly
reformed. In litigating Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania v. Taylor Edsel, the students
were forced to grapple with issues such as
proving (or not proving) the elements of
a crime, issues surrounding motive and
witness credibility, presenting and refuting
expert testimony, and the ultimate
question of how to weigh the evidence of
Taylor's past arson offenses.
The Pennsylvania Statewide High
School Mock Trial Competition is
sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division
of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Each
year, the MBA Young Lawyers Section
works tirelessly to coordinate many
aspects of the competition. This year,
this enormous undertaking was headed
up by District Coordinator Lindsay
Childs, Esq., and Regional Coordinator
Stephen Barrett, Esq. The coordinators'
many responsibilities include reaching
out to the members of the Montgomery
Bar Association for volunteers to serve as
judges, jurors and timekeepers for over
thirty trials throughout the month of
February. Special thanks should be given
to the Montgomery County judges and
attorneys who volunteered to serve in the
competition this year.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SIDEBAR Spring 2017

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