Local Teams Advance in Mock Trial Competition

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Source: Santa Barbara County Education Office

Six teams from five public and private high schools competed in the 37th annual Mock Trial competition on Saturday at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Participating schools this year are Carpinteria, Dos Pueblos, Laguna Blanca, San Marcos, and Santa Barbara high schools.

The Mock Trial competition provides an educational opportunity, immersing high school students in key concepts of the law, the legal process, and our justice system. High school teams simulate a civic or criminal trial with attorneys and witnesses, learn how to construct a convincing and compelling case, and respond to legal arguments with competence and confidence.

On Saturday, after two rounds of competition, four high school teams — San Marcos, Santa Barbara High, and two from Dos Pueblos — progressed to the semifinals, which will be held this Saturday, February 29, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. The semi-final round of the competition begins at 9 a.m. followed by the finals at 1 p.m. The awards ceremony will be hosted by Judge Brian Hill between 4-4.30 p.m. at the Courthouse in Department 2.

The winner of the local competition will represent Santa Barbara County at the State Mock Trial competition in Los Angeles, March 20-22.

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

“Mock Trial provides an invaluable educational experience for high school students,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido. “Apart from gaining an understanding on how our legal system works, students benefit from teamwork, and building persuasive arguments backed by facts in a limited period of time. We are grateful for the coaches and volunteers who invest their time, providing an incredible opportunity for students. ”

Judge Thomas Anderle and SBCEO Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Ellen Barger awarded medals to 28 individual students for exceptional performances. Medals were donated by the law firm of Rogers, Sheffield and Campbell, LLP. The Santa Barbara County Bar Association will provide a check for the winning team to support travel to the State Competition.

Judges of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court who volunteer to serve as presiding judges for the competition include Judge Thomas P. Anderle, Judge Clifford Anderson, Judge Von Deroian, Retired Judge George C. Eskin, Judge Donna Geck, Judge Brian Hill, Judge Kay Kuns, Judge Monica Marlow, and Commissioner Steve Foley. Additional presiders include Stephen Amerikaner, John Thyne III, and Michael Hanley. Nearly 60 local attorneys from private practices, the County of Santa Barbara, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Public Defender’s Office volunteer their time to serve as scorers. Training for Mock Trial Scoring was provided by Retired Judge George Eskin and Danielle DeSmeth.

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