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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 2:23 am | Fair 50º


Royals Rule the Court in Mock Trial Showdown to Advance to State Finals

Declared co-county champions on Saturday, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos face off again in a playoff match-up

In a nail-biting, standing-room-only court session Tuesday evening at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the San Marcos High School Mock Trial team won a thrilling playoff trial to defeat Dos Pueblos High School and earn a berth in the 30th California State Mock Trial Finals on March 25-27.

Last Saturday, after two exhausting trials in the Santa Barbara County championship, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos were declared co-county champions after receiving the same number of scoring points for an unprecedented second year in a row. However, since the county can send only one team to the state finals, a playoff was necessary, and the Dos Pueblos prosecution team matched up against the San Marcos defense team in an intense trial to determine which team would advance.

“The second match-up was epic,” San Marcos attorney Adrienne Simes said. “DP’s team is incredible, and the opportunity to go up against such a skilled team again was a rewarding one.”

The presiding judge, Steve Amerikaner, along with the five local attorneys serving as scoring judges, remarked on the expert ability and dynamic courtroom presence of the students from both sides.

“The legal acumen of these kids to articulate the rules of the evidence code and apply them so expertly to the case was outstanding — better than most local attorneys,” said Luke Ohrn, teacher coach at San Marcos. “Our attorneys were on fire, just incredible with their ability to instantly argue their case.”

This year’s case focused on two charges: cyberbullying and assault with a deadly weapon. A fictional defendant was alleged to have threatened a young junior high student both in person and online, culminating in an actual assault with a brick in an abandoned alleyway. Students not only took on the role of attorneys in the case, but also served as witnesses for both sides in the simulated “mock” criminal trial.

“The ability of these high school students to transform themselves into these roles and stay in character during direct and cross examination is simply amazing,” said Eric Burrows, teacher coach at San Marcos, “and the work ethic and dedication of the team this year is unparalleled. Their victory is so richly deserved. They should be very proud.”

San Marcos has won the Santa Barbara County Mock Trial championship 10 times in the past 15 years, and four out of the past six years. The Royals won the state championships in 2004 and 2006, with the 2004 team finishing fifth in the nation.

Ohrn was quick to praise the current team.

“To see such outstanding performances in such a tense situation is so very rewarding,” he said. “These kids have excelled and will excel at the state finals. They have brilliantly upheld the grand tradition of San Marcos Mock Trial.”

Mock trial is sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and all mock trial teams in the state receive the same case information packets in September. They then spend multiple hours each week researching the law, preparing arguments and exams, and developing character for the witnesses.

San Marcos Mock Trial Team

» Pretrial attorneys: Isaac Wright, Jaimie Mayner, Caitlin Mannix

» Prosecution attorneys: Jocelyn Flattery, Mayela Rodriquez, Ellen Gleason

» Defense attorneys: Gaby Wildfeuer, Adrienne Simes

» Prosecution witnesses: Gabe Bastomski, Clayton Brand, Shannon Sweeney, Alanna Cousins

» Defense witnesses: Kat Coppe, Lionel Rodriquez, Ashley Ostendorf, Anjuli Das

» Clerk: Kelsey Rich

» Bailiff: Megan Zink

» Understudies: Will Lorenzen, Evan Lincoln, Manpret Kaur, Chloe Hughes, Holly Highfill

» Attorney coaches: John Lauritsen, MaryAnne Weiss, John Torme, Joel Kreiner

» Presentation coaches:  Janet Kayfetz, Phil Gould

» Teacher coaches: Luke Ohrn, Eric Burrows

— Aaron Solis is the activities director for San Marcos High School.

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