SPS Mock Trial Team Qualifies for State Playoffs Without Coach


Julia Schager, Correspondent

On December 2, 2022, the Stamford Public Schools Mock Trial Team went undefeated in the Norwalk/Stamford Regional competition. The team’s plaintiff counsel defeated Lauralton Hall, while the defense counsel was victorious over Wilton. The trial was held at the Norwalk Courthouse, which has been out of use for almost three years.

This season’s case was designed by Civics First Connecticut, a non-profit organization focused on the promotion of law-related educational programs. They used humorous pop-star parody characters in a case tackling the issue of voter suppression. The team was tasked with proving whether or not city clerk Sam Smythe interfered with the election of 19-year-old city council candidate Tylor Swift. The three charges the plaintiff had to prove against Smythe were unlawfully moving the polling location, denying college students the right to vote, and illegally contacting Swift’s school in order to shut down her campaign page.

This year’s team is comprised of a whopping nine new members, leaving the captains with the responsibility to reorganize the team in its entirety. Senior captains Amelia Stone and Ryan Shoztic of Stamford High School and Milind Sharma of Westhill High School have carried the team through a trying few years. They have been without a school advisor for the past season and without an attorney coaching since 2021. Despite this lack of support, the team has managed to secure funding and transportation to practices and events. Furthermore, with no teacher overseeing it, the team wound up with no room in which they could prepare. The three captains were forced to employ innovative methods to keep the team organized and on track, including carpooling to the Ferguson Library, local coffee shops, and even each other’s houses when necessary. Sophomore member Hayden Katz commended the three captains for their hard work, saying that she is “very happy” and “excited for the next trial.”

At the competition, Stamford excelled “largely as a result of the six witnesses on the team,” said Ryan Shoztic. He also praised the three defense witnesses, noting that they “each got 9/10s, which is very rare and just about perfect.”

As a result of the team’s hard work and stellar performance, they became the first mock trial team in Connecticut to qualify for the state competition.