Hollander Speaks to Mock Trial Defends Due Process; Asks for Accountability

Photo Illustration: Gabriel Bassin


Photo Illustration: Gabriel Bassin

Nancy Hollander, soon to be played by Jodie Foster in an upcoming film based on the book Guantanamo Diaries, has defended clients on “every possible crime you can imagine.” Immortalized in a book, the Supreme Court, and now in a movie, Hollander’s career consists of numerous accomplishments. She has defended the likes of accused terrorists, rapists, and murderers. She has also defended innocent people held against their will and tortured by the government including Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Chelsea Manning.

On November 21, the Bolles Mock Trial Team had the opportunity to listen to an expert in the field. She spoke about her big cases, her learning experience as a lawyer, and how she won a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court.

Hollander’s presentation was filled with interesting questions from the team that provoked stories about career-defining cases and legal strategies. Hollander’s common theme: being a defense attorney always seems to be “an uphill battle. Though people are presumed innocent; you’re really not starting there.”

Hollander also explained what many view as a dilemma for defense attorneys: does it concern her when she gets someone who is guilty acquitted? For Hollander, the answer is no. Hollander believes her sole obligation is to ensure her client receives a fair trial from the government.

“It is not my obligation to judge people.”

The discussion also delved into specific legal tactics. For example, Hollander told the story of a gynecologist accused of sexual assault. When it came to selecting a jury, she felt having a majority of older, more traditional women would provide a higher chance of acquittal.

Meanwhile, when it came to oral arguments, winning a trial is a matter of how you tell the story. In order to improve your concise storytelling ability, Hollander had a suggestion. “Listen to country music. Seriously. Even if you hate it, if you want to be a good story teller, listen to country music to see how it’s possible to tell a story in three minutes.”

With all her stories and strategies, Hollander provided the team with plenty of encouragement to become a lawyer. However, Hollander’s experience with Guantanamo Bay extended another motive. While representing two prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Hollander grew well aware of the atrocities committed in the prison. Her message: “When we go complaining about human rights in other countries, we need to look at our own back door.”

The night proved inspiring as the Mock Trial Team heads into its winter and spring seasons with renewed energy.

Bolles Democrats and Republicans Share Goals and Ideas

We interviewed the leaders of the Bolles Republicans and Bolles Democrats Clubs about their club’s values, their plans for the future, and the importance of having these groups at Bolles. Their responses are recorded below.
What are your plans for the year?
“We’re discussing setting up a round table so we can inform people on the awesome Democratic candidates… We’re planning to open it to the public, because I think a lot of people don’t know who they support yet or who they want to vote for.”
“We’re hoping to link up with Duval Democrats…  and help raise some money for a cause, maybe like climate change, environmental change, voting- we had some ideas of maybe collaborating with the Young Voters of America.”
– Richa Goel (D-Co-President)

“The Bolles Republicans club focuses on educating the community on our beliefs as a party. The club wants to correct negative connotations of the party… We also want to participate in more fundraisers than previously, donating the money to Honor Flight, an organization that transports veterans to D.C. to see their war memorials.”
-Makayla Stone (R-Vice President)

“This year my biggest goals for the club are to educate the student body about our core values as Republicans, to keep our members updated on the political status of the U.S. and the world, and to raise money for veterans.
-Aurora Bernhardt (R-President)

What is the core mission of your club?
“I think having these clubs in schools starts the habit of voting when you’re 18… and I feel like our voice matters, and we have to use it to do our civic duty.”
– Richa Goel (D-Co-President)

“With such a large divide between the two political parties it is easy to lose yourself within the tension and be drawn towards the hate. What I hope to teach my fellow students is how to have a civil discussion while acknowledging varying opinions and accepting each other’s views.”
– Aurora Bernhardt (R-President)