Exeter High School student Gaby Rodriguez wins constitutional advocacy award for mock trial performance, defeating university preparatory high school at California mock trial finals
EXETER – After a series of successes this mock trial season, an Exeter senior finishes the year strong with yet another victory alongside her team.
Exeter Union High School’s Gaby Rodriguez ended her senior year of mock trial by winning the J. Skelly Wright Constitutional Advocacy Award for Outstanding Pretrial Attorney at the California Mock Trial Finals in March. Rodriguez, who will attend the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall and major in chemistry, won the award for her performance as defense pretrial attorney.
“I thought that our whole team did a really good job, and I was really proud of everyone’s witness performances and their arguments,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “I feel really proud of my whole team.”
This year’s fictitious case was People v. Franks. The case involves a man who is accused of stealing a fellow actor’s signet ring – a ring once owned by William Shakespeare. The prosecution team argued the violence was intentional, the ring was stolen by the defendant, and it did in fact, belong to Shakespeare. Meanwhile, the defense team argues the violence was unintentional. They argued that the ring was stolen by someone else, and through the testimony of the expert witnesses, never belonged to Shakespeare. The prosecution was presented by UPHS, and the defense by Exeter.
This month, Exeter Union High School (EUHS) defeated University Preparatory High School (UPHS) at the mock trial finals held at Granite Hills High School’s Justice Center in Porterville. Exeter represented Tulare County at state finals, which will take place on March 17 – 19 in Los Angeles. Exeter’s team is coached by Carmen, with assistance from real attorneys Adam Clare and Roger Wilson.After winning the Tulare County Mock Trial title in February, Exeter prepared for an additional month for the state championships, which were held at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on March 17-19.
Exeter’s team was comprised of:
- Gaby Rodriguez (Attorney)
- Gemma Valero (Attorney)
- Ethan Gonzales (Attorney)
- Mia Regalado (Attorney)
- Eden Diaz (Witness)
- Ryder Stimpel (Attorney and Witness)
- Megan Thompson (Witness)
- Carter Lang (Expert Witness)
- Holly DeCraemer (Bailiff & Clerk)
- Marin Parker (Bailiff & Clerk)
- Trinity Elliott (Attorney)
- Wyatt Jardon (Expert Witness)
- Alex Romero (Detective)
- Natalie Oneto (Witness)
Mock trial is an extracurricular academic team that allows students to work with actual attorneys as they dig deep into the judicial system to craft opposing arguments to explain a reported set of events. A little over half of a mock trial team consists of witnesses in roles like character witness, scientific experts, police detectives, the defendant and victim.
There are also three prosecution attorneys and three defense attorneys who perform direct and cross examinations of opposing teams’ witnesses, object to opposing counsel, and otherwise argue their case before scoring judges in an actual courtroom. A pre-trial attorney argues preliminary motions to either include or exclude evidence collected by police, based on a series of 4th amendment court rulings.