Dos Pueblos High School’s mock-trial team won two trials Saturday at the Empire Mock Trial Association’s Empire City Invitational World Championship in New York City.
On Saturday afternoon, the Chargers went against the tournament’s top seed, Grady High School of Atlanta. Grady is a perennial powerhouse both at Empire and at Nationals, but Dos Pueblos beat them, 3-0. In other words, the Chargers won on all three scorers’ ballots to improve to 6-0 in the tournament. On Sunday morning, the Dos Pueblos High defense goes against Tottenville High School of Huguenot, N.Y., on Staten Island, which means the plaintiff’s team should go Sunday afternoon.
The Dos Pueblos defense team was absolutely stellar Saturday afternoon. The defense threw Grady off from the beginning of the preliminary matters, when the Chargers offered the judge (who is an actual judge) an exhibit book with copies of the exhibits and supporting documents, with official exhibit tags. He then asked Grady where the tags were for its exhibits, and Grady scrambled to affix post-it notes. Hannah Cruz knocked it out of the ballpark with her opening. They called Zimmer and Delia Bullock kept out all of the HappyLand emails. Maddy Centrella struck a great balance between zany and concerned. Bela lured them into impeaching her, and when the attorney said, “where do you say that on this page of your affidavit,” she told him that it was on another page. He didn’t pursue the matter.
Ami Thakrar dominated the expert scene and when they tried to impeach Bela through Ami, Ami politely but quickly pointed out that well-tuned minds could put 2 and 2 together. (She was far more articulate in saying so.) Maddy Matthys’ closing was good; the Grady coach mentioned it specifically afterward when the two schools’ coaches were talking about the trial.
One of the things that caught everyone’s eye Saturday night was the table full of trophies. On Sunday night, tournament organizers will be awarding individual awards for attorneys and witnesses. Don’t be surprised if some of the Dos Pueblos High kids come back with heavier suitcases than when they departed Santa Barbara. In each trial, each judge ranks the top four witnesses and the top four attorneys. In both trials, at least three of the Chargers’ witnesses got the No. 1 ballot.
The kids and mock-trial coach Bill Woodard were off on the cruise Saturday night, and they looked as sharp in their party attire as they did in their competition attire.
With Hurricane Sandy heading north, team leaders are working on a storm backup plan in case the Chargers are unable to leave Monday as scheduled. (Thank you Nila Shinday.)
— Maureen Grattan is an attorney with Dorais, McFarland, Grattan & Polinsky in Santa Barbara and a Dos Pueblos High School mock-trial coach.