Members of the Rye Neck High School Mock Trial team have been diligently examining the civil case of Robin Berkman vs. County of Dover and preparing to present their case in courtroom trials. They will act as attorneys and witnesses when they compete against Horace Greeley High School in a mock trial at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains on March 2.

Mock trial is an academic competition in a courtroom setting that allows students to prepare and argue both the prosecution and defense sides of a case and compete against students from across the country. In this year’s case, the defendant was wrongfully prosecuted for the attempted murder of a store clerk and robbery of a convenience store.

“The lead lawyers for each side have developed hard-hitting questions and incorporated substantial evidence to make their case stand out,” said Marcella Scalise, the Mock Trial team coach and a social studies teacher. “The witnesses have assumed their roles and taken their new persona very seriously. Legal researchers have helped both lawyers and witnesses prepare their questions, roles and provide feedback on areas for improvement.”

Scalise, who has enlisted the guidance of legal advisor Deborah A. Scalise, of Scalise & Hamilton, LLP, said she feels confident her team will be successful throughout the competition.

"The team has been working hard to break down and truly understand the issues in the case,” Scalise said. “Every member of the team has had a vital role in our preparation and it shows through the well-thought-out questions and answers for both sides. I am so proud of every student for their efforts and the progress I have seen since we began. I am excited to see us compete.”

The Rye Neck Union Free School District wishes the Mock Trial team good luck throughout the competition season.