Roman’s Mock Trial Team wins fourth consecutive City Championship

Roman Catholic High School
 On Sunday, March 12, Roman Catholic High School’s Varsity A Mock Trial Team defeated Germantown Friends A Team to capture its fourth consecutive Mock Trial city title. 2017 has been the most successful season for Roman’s Mock Trial program. In the pre-season, The A Team won tournaments at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. The team came in second at the LaSalle University tournament, losing only to Roman’s Varsity B Team.

 Mock Trial is a simulation of an actual court trial. Since this year’s case is a criminal arson case, both sides will prepare a prosecution and a defense. During the city competition, the team has to be ready to present both sides. Each side of the case consists of three attorneys and three witnesses. Presentation, preparation of the case, and knowledge of the Federal Rules of Evidence are key elements in the judging of the competition.


This win gives Roman the opportunity to represent Philadelphia as it competes for the state title on March 24-25 in Harrisburg. The A Team is comprised of eight students: Christian Dellavella ’17 (Torresdale), Joseph Doherty ’17 (Fox Chase), Nicholas Hamilton ’19 (Pine Valley), Ryan Frank ’20 (Mayfair) Joseph Pizzo ’17 (Bensalem), Paul Keene ’17 (Mt. Airy), Joshua Picciotti ’18 (South Philadelphia), and Justin Vespasiani ’18 (South Philadelphia). Dellavella and Doherty respectively earned best attorney and best witness awards in the city championship round.

During this four-year winning streak, the team has been coached by Roman alumnus and assistant district attorney Steven Patton ’08 (Parkwood) and long-time English teacher John Pensabene (Holmesburg).


 Roman Catholic High School has the largest Mock Trial program in the state of Pennsylvania. The program is comprised of almost 50 students spread over four varsity teams and a junior varsity team. The program also touts nine coaches, with the exception of Pensabene, all of whom are alums of the school and the Mock Trial Program.

Mock Trial Team  

PICTURED BELOW (L-R): John Pensabene, Justin Vespasiani, Nicholas Hamilton, Paul Keene, Joseph Doherty, Christian Dellavella, Ryan Frank, Joseph Pizzo, Joshua Picciotti, Steven Patton