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Dos Pueblos High School Wins County Mock Trial Competition

Mock Trial participants at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
Mock Trial participants at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. (Luis Medina / Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

The Dos Pueblos High School Mock Trial Team defeated San Marcos High School in a close competition Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

Nine teams from seven public high schools throughout Santa Barbara County competed in the 33rd annual Mock Trial competition, which began Feb. 20.

The Mock Trial competition is designed to immerse high school students in key concepts of the law, the Constitution and U.S. legal system. The students study case law, read broadly and critically and build evidence-based arguments and counter arguments.

They prepare to be grilled not only by their formidable competitors, but by sitting judges who push their thinking.

On Feb. 20, two rounds of competition resulted in four high school teams — two from Dos Pueblos and one each from San Marcos and Santa Barbara High Schools — progressing to the semifinals and finals that were held Feb. 27.

Dos Pueblos’s winning team will represent Santa Barbara County at the State Mock Trial competition in Sacramento March 18-20. The winner of the state competition will then move on to the national competition. 

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

The competition is sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Barbara Superior Court and the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Long-time advocate for mock trial competition, Judge Brian Hill, presided over the competition, recruited attorney scorers and officiated the award ceremonies.

Judges for the competition included Judge Thomas P. Anderle, Judge Clifford Anderson, Judge Michael Carrozzo, Judge Jean Dandona, Judge Donna Geck, Judge James Herman, Judge Brian E. Hill, Judge Patricia Kelly, Judge Kay Kuns, Judge Pauline Maxwell, Judge Raimundo Montes De Oca, Retired Judge George Eskin and Retired Commissioner Edward DeCaro.

Attorneys Jeff Chambliss and Danielle De Smeth led a robust contingent of scorers from both the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices and were augmented by 52 local private lawyers, paralegals and a city-councilman, all of whom volunteered their time over the two weekends hearing the case.

Students prepared their cases with the help of teacher advisors and attorneys who volunteer their time as coaches. Students portrayed each of the principal characters of the People v. Hayes case, developing skills in public speaking, collaboration and critical thinking.

— David J. Lawrence is the director of communications at the Santa Barbara County Education Office.


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