The California High School Mock Trial Team from San Ramon, led by teacher coach Brian Barr, and attorney coaches Larry Lowe and Ken Mifsud, has won Contra Costa County’s annual competition for the third year in a row. The Grizzlies bested Acalanes, who took second place in the final round, and third place Miramonte beat Monte Vista which took fourth place in the Consolation round. (See the complete Mock Trial competition results).
The Cal High team will represent the county at the 39th Annual California State Mock Trial Finals on March 20-22 in Los Angeles, CA.
Mock Trial Overview
The Mock Trial Program is sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF). Each year CRF creates a mock trial that addresses serious matters facing young people today.
Each team works with teacher and attorney coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, both from the prosecution and defense perspective. Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pretrial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, and bailiffs. Through these role-playing techniques, students learn about the content and processes of law in an exciting and vibrant way. Also, by studying the case and preparing strategies and arguments for trial, students increase their public speaking skills, analytical ability and team cooperation.
Some high schools offer the Mock Trial Program as a class rather than an extra-curricular activity.
At the State Finals, the winning teams from 36 counties will present People v. Matsumoto, the trial of Bailey Matsumoto. Bailey is the founder of a technology start-up that develops autonomous (self-driving) trucks. Bailey is charged with murder, which is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice afterthought. The pretrial issue involves the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Courtroom Art Contest
Students also had the opportunity to compete as courtroom artists by participating in the Courtroom Art Contest, a companion program to Mock Trials. As courtroom artists, students accompany their Mock Trial teams and sketch courtroom scenes that are later judged by a team of art judges. Download artist rules and registration information. The winner, Reese Whipple of Miramonte High, will represent Contra Costa County at the state finals.
Courtroom Journalism Contest
Students were given an opportunity to report on a Mock Trial from the perspective of a journalist. As courtroom reporters, students will accompany their school’s Mock Trial teams to the preliminary rounds of the competition. Courtroom reporters will then write and submit one 500-word news article on the trial they attended. Articles were judged by a panel of specialists. The winner, Christine Oh of California High, will represent Contra Costa County at the state finals.
List of Winners
Following is the list of major award winners during the 2020 Contra Costa County competition:
TOP OVERALL WINNING TEAMS
1st Place – California
2nd Place – Acalanes
3rd Place – Miramonte
4th Place – Monte Vista
NEW THIS YEAR!
TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
Awarded to the team that exhibited a high degree of ethics, respect, fair play and good attitude (win or not).
Reese Whipple, Miramonte
Christine Oh, California
Judges’ Choice Award Winners (with 2 votes each)
Acalanes Jane Gundacker
Alhambra Simarpreet Kaur
Carondelet Nicole Abudayeh
De Anza Elena Martinez
Kennedy Geselle Alvarado
Richmond Andrea Lopez and Eric Martinez
Judges’ Choice Honorable Mention
Acalanes Jamie Lattin, Adam Machajewski and Yicheng Yao
Alhambra Nivia Buttar and Tess Kempner
California Daniela Kuthy-Cervantes and Sarah Zhang
Campolindo Sarah Downing, Madeleine Landau, Nina Naffziger, Maia West and Danielle Whisnant
Carondelet Laura Bocek
De Anza Kilty Huskisson, Irene Kou and Tyler Quijada
Deer Valley Janae Burks, Katherine Muster, Caitlin Todd and SavannahTurnage
Dougherty Valley Elijah Bradford, Pradyun Singh, Neha Vasagiri and Gayathri Viswanth
El Cerrito Audrey Dowling, Zayn Martaza and Simone Parisi
Hercules Kevin Gill
Heritage Jacki Fortner, Lexi Ojeda and Tori Renner
Kennedy Emani Mason and Viridiana Ayala
Las Lomas Annalise Anderson, Dina Mirmotalebisohi and Cameron Pitzak
Miramonte Adrian Nibley, Preston Nibley, Sarah Svahn, Eva Winter and Chaya Tong
Monte Vista Cameron Boles, Valeria Caveroegusquiza, Liam Crowley and Hannah Nance
Richmond John Olivarez and Jahzeel Perez
See the list of all 2020 award winners here.