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Chittenango: Mock trial team advances

The annual scholastic mock trial competition, sponsored by the New York State Bar Association is now underway and the Chittenango High School team has succeeded so far in the competition.

After the first two rounds of competition, Chittenango was one of the only four teams in the 27 school field to remain undefeated, and was the highest point scoring team in each of those first two rounds.

In the third round, just completed two weeks ago, Chittenango faced another undefeated team from Cazenovia High School and emerged victorious by a score of 49 to 45.

Chittenango's earlier victories were over East-Syracuse Minoa and Jamesville-Dewitt High Schools. The team competed with Christian Brother's Academy on March 22. With another win, or even a close loss, Chittenango will receive a bye to advance to the finals of this elimination tournament. The final competition will be held in the Onondaga County Courthouse on Thursday, April 5.

Chittenango's team includes Lindsay Whalen, Steven Hatch, Phillip Pollack and Aubrey Roman functioning as attorneys, with fellow students, Lily Piraino, Ryan Schiedo, Kyle Schiedo, Matthew Furtado and Fideleo Collachi functioning as trial witnesses. The team is coached by Mike Keville, with Misty White as assistant coach, and Attorney James Roman acting as the team's legal advisor.

The mock trial program involves three students filling the roles of trial attorneys during each competition, with three other students acting as witnesses both for direct and cross-examinations. This year's model case involves criminal charges filed against a supposed college student for having allegedly stalked a fellow student through use of a computer chat room. Each school's team must be prepared to present the case from either the prosecution or defendant's point of view, which substantially increases the amount of preparation that these students must complete to be successful.

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