Loras Mock Trial Shines in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – The Lora College Mock Trial team distinguished itself at the Big Easy Mock Trial Tournament in New Orleans.

 Left to right: Mallory Gardiner (’22), Anna Peterson (’20), Molly Fellers (’22), Georgia Walter (’22), Andrew Hansen (’20) and Charlie Holmes (’23)

Sponsored by Dillard University, Loyola Law School of New Orleans, and Tulane University, the tournament saw 14 teams compete from eight schools, including Louisiana State University, University of Texas at Austin, and Mississippi University School for Women.

Rising captain Mallory Gardiner (’22) portrayed an expert forensic pathologist as a witness for the prosecution. She received a 19 out of 20 score, and was the highest scoring witness out of all prosecution teams.

Mary Fellers (’22) played the defendant as a witness for the defense. This role is a grieving mother who has been accused of murdering her 12-year-old daughter. Fellers also earned a 19 out of 20 rank, which was the highest scoring witness out of all defense teams.

“It must be noted that Mock Trial (as well as Mediation) functions very much as a team,” Deone Merkle, instructor of communication arts and coach of the Loras Mock Trial team, said. “Just as a basketball or soccer team must have assists, or defensive plays, a Mock Trial must have attorneys who ask the right questions or make the right objections to make their witnesses shine.

In addition to Gardiner and Fellers, the other students who made up the Loras team were Anna Petersen (’20), Andrew Hansen (’20), Charlie Holmes (’23) and Georgia Walter (’22).

The tournament was held in the New Orleans Parish Civil Courthouse, providing the students with a chance to perform in a real courtroom. Judges were sitting judges and practicing attorneys from New Orleans.

Since Louisiana follows a different form of law (Napoleonic Code) than the rest of the country, judges and lawyers assessing all of the students were less familiar with the law that the Loras Mock Trial club uses, which forced all students to articulate the law in a new way.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2020, Loras was ranked the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 12th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).