Law and Order: Chipmunks in Court


AC Nussbaum, '21, Staff Writer

On Saturday, February 16, Mock Trial walked confidently into the courtroom. Each year Chapelle’s Mock Trial team competes with other teams around the city to present a fictionalized court case. This year, they examined an imaginary lawsuit against a fraternity for a hazing incident that ended up in a pledge’s death by an alligator attack. Sophomore Abby Hudson summarized the case saying, “Reagan Carver was an 18-year-old freshman at Southwestern State University in Bogalusa, Louisiana. During Reagan’s freshman semester in the fall of 2017, Reagan began the initiation process into the Zeta Mu Chapter of Theta Lambda Pi Fraternity, Inc., a co-ed fraternity on campus. During the initiation process, Reagan was allegedly hazed and died on October 31, 2017. Reagan’s parent, Blake Carver, is now suing Theta Lambda Pi for the wrongful death of their child.”

Senior Asha Altemus, junior Megan Meyer, and junior Taylor Talbert played attorneys who each questioned one witness from each side, all of whom were also portrayed by Chapelle students. On the plaintiff (siding with Blake Carver) side, there were three witnesses: Alex Hampton, a friend of Reagan’s who also pledged Theta Lambda Pi, portrayed by sophomore Abby Hudson; Robin Winter, a wildlife and fisheries officer at the alligator farm where Reagan died, portrayed by junior Kate Spamneto; and Dr. Sam Richards, Reagan’s psychology professor, portrayed by junior Amanda Darda. On the defense side (siding with Theta Lambda Pi), there were also three witnesses: Taylor Parker, the president of Southwestern’s Theta Lambda Pi fraternity, portrayed by junior Tia McGee; Blair Doolittle, another pledge of Theta Lambda Pi who was present when Reagan died, portrayed by sophomore Claire Garitty; and Dr. J.D. Cheatem, a consultant psychiatrist, portrayed by junior Kate Spampneto.

Led by moderator Mr. Kyle Wooderson, the team studied their case and took the roles of lawyers and witnesses to present it as accurately as possible. By the time they had to present their case at the competition, they were fully prepared. The team expertly presented their case, and junior Kate Spampneto won the award for “best witness.” Congratulations to the Chapelle Mock Trial team for their excellent performance!