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Four High School Teams Advance in Countywide Mock Trial Competition

Ten teams from eight public and private high schools throughout Santa Barbara County competed in the 32nd annual Mock Trial competition on Satuirday at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

The Mock Trial competition is designed to provide an educational experience for high school students regarding key concepts of the law, the Constitution and our legal system.

On Saturday, two rounds of competition resulted in four high school teams progressing to the semifinals and finals that will be held this Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. The first round of competition begins at 9 a.m. and the second round at 1 p.m.

The winner of the local competition will represent Santa Barbara County at the State Mock Trial competition in Riverside March 20-22. The winner of the state competition will then move on to the national competition.

Participating schools this year are Cabrillo High School, Carpinteria High School, Dos Pueblos High School, Laguna Blanca High School, Pioneer Valley High School, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara High School and Santa Ynez High School.

The competition is sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office and the Constitutional Rights Foundation. It is coordinated by Ammon Hoenigman from the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

Judges of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court for the competition include Judge Thomas Anderle, Judge Michael Carrozzo, Judge Donna Geck, Judge Brian Hill, Judge Patricia Kelly, Judge Kay Kuns and retired Judge George Eskin; local attorneys include Stephen Amerikaner, Jeff Chambliss, Brian Cota, Sam Eaton, Thomas Hinshaw, Jerry Howard, Benjamin Ladinig, Susan McCollum, Raimundo Montes de Oca, Adam Pearlman, Catherine Swysen, Paula Waldman and retired Commissioner Edward DeCaro.

Students have prepared their cases with the help of teacher advisors and attorneys who volunteer their time as coaches. Local attorneys and judges volunteer their time to serve as scorers and presiding judges hearing the case. Students portray each of the principal characters of the case, People v. Shem, and in doing so, develop skills in public speaking, collaboration and critical thinking.

— Kris Bergstrom is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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