Schools prepare for ‘07 Mock Trial Competition

By Mo Moore

Ask students of Exeter Union High School's Mock Trial Team and they will tell you that being a part of the legal community is serious work. The team, which has been practicing since November competed Feb. 6 in their first match against Dinuba.

&#8220The students have been working hard and are prepared to do well, especially our defendant, Melissa Haun,” said Exeter Mock Trial Coach, Jim Stanaway.

Throughout the month of February, 11 Tulare County high school teams will compete. Schools participating in the 2007 Mock Trial Competition are the following: Golden West High School, El Diamante High School, Exeter High School, Golden West High School, Granite Hills High School, Lindsay High School, Mt. Whitney High School, Redwood High School, Tulare Western High School, Tulare Union High School and Orosi High School.

Every team will compete during the first four rounds of the competition that will take place over a series of days. At 5:15 p.m. on Feb. 6, 8, 13 and 15 the Tulare County Superior Court House will come alive with teams fiercely competing to win their case. The top two teams will compete in the semi-finals Feb. 20 at the courthouse. The finals will take place at El Diamante High School at 5:15 p.m. on Feb. 22.

An awards banquet wraps up the competition on March 8 higlighting outstanding students, parents, teachers and attorneys. The Tulare County champions will compete in the state finals March 23-25 in Oakland.

Mock Trial gives students a chance to deepen their understanding of the legal system. Teams will work together to tie up lose ends and present the strongest case. This year's hypothetical case, the People vs. Campbell includes a pre-trial argument regarding the First Amendment's right to freedom of speech and expression. The defendant has been charged with placing an explosive device on a school grounds in an attempt to kill, putting an offensive substance in a pubic place and being in possession of a video game that is in strict violation of the School Violence in Video Games statue.

&#8220I would have to say it's as close to a real court case as students are going to get without participating in an actual trial,” said Stanaway. &#8220Students fill the roles of lawyers, clerks, bailiffs and witnesses.”

To prepare for competition, students have to familiarize themselves with California Penal Codes, Jury Instructions and 14 similar cases. Students will look at the constitutionality of placing legal restrictions on possessing violent video games. Teams get help from local attorneys and during competition are judged by three attorneys on their analysis, performance and debate.

&#8220It's great for public speaking, gaining a better view of the court system and it helps prepare students to work together toward a common goal,” said Stanaway.

Start typing and press Enter to search