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Students Make Their Cases at Mock Trial Contest

34th annual Mock Trial Competition

 

Eight county high schools fielded teams for the recent preliminary rounds of the 34th annual Mock Trial Competition hosted by the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO).

Participating high schools were Cabrillo, Carpinteria, Dos Pueblos (two teams), Laguna Blanca, San Marcos, Santa Barbara, and Santa Ynez Union. More than 150 students participated, and individual medals were awarded to 28 students for outstanding performances on Feb. 25.

Mock Trial is a partnership between the SBCEO and Santa Barbara County Superior Courts, in conjunction with the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Mock Trial was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their rights and responsibilities.

During the competitions, students portray each of the principal characters, including the defendant, counsel, witnesses, court clerks and bailiffs.

Each year, county Superior Court judges preside over the three-hour criminal trials. This year’s case, People vs. Aubrey, is the trial of a restaurant owner charged with human trafficking and false imprisonment of an immigrant worker.

More than 40 local attorneys also volunteered as scorers, providing evaluations and feedback for the student litigants and witnesses, and numerous local attorneys coach and teach the students throughout the year in preparation for the competition.

The top four teams from the preliminary rounds will compete on Saturday, March 4, for the county championship at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

Dos Pueblos Varsity and San Marcos High are the top-seeded teams, and will compete against Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos JV team.

Semi-finals are from 9 a.m. to noon. Finals will be held in Departments 1 and 2 from 1-4 p.m. with judges Patricia Kelly and Brian Hill presiding. Awards will be presented at about 4:30 p.m. in Department 2, on the Courthouse’s second floor.

Last year’s county champion, Dos Pueblos High School, went on to win the state championship. This year’s county winner will represent Santa Barbara County at the California Mock Trial Competition in Riverside, March 24-26.

— David J. Lawrence for Santa Barbara County Education Office.

 

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