26th Annual Mock Trial Competition

Santa Cruz Mock Trial competition started on February 5, 2015, with six teams from various schools throughout the county. The participating schools were Aptos High, Harbor High, Santa Cruz High, Scotts Valley High, Soquel High and Watsonville High.

The case this year was People v. Shem, which concerned the trial of an art student accused of stealing a painting and facing a felony count of theft by larceny. The pretrial issue centers on the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure and whether or not the art student’s roommate could consent to the search of a storage cabinet located in an unattached parking carport.

judge and students in courtroomThe competitive rounds continued through February 11, 2015, at which time the four top scoring teams were determined: Harbor High, Santa Cruz High, Soquel High, and Scotts Valley High. On February 19th Harbor High and Soquel High competed to see which team would continue on to California Mock Trial State Competition. Harbor High was the winner and the team will be continuing to compete at the State level against 36 participating counties in California.

The Mock Trial competition requires dedication and commitment from the participating students. With the assistance of a lead teacher and attorney coach, the youth learn, study, and practice the ins and outs of a specific criminal case. Through performance-based education of Mock Trial, the students become familiarized with the law and court proceedings, they develop critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as practice in public presentation. The Mock Trial teams are made up of students who are interested in academia as well as acting. The students are committed and have been practicing and training in public speaking and preparation of case law and objections.

The Mock Trial competition requires volunteers as scoring attorneys, judges, and proceeding assistants who tally scores. The Santa Cruz Mock Trial volunteers consisted of over 50 local attorney and judge volunteers. The Mock Trial competition is dependant on the dedication and time spent by those who volunteered to score the Mock Trial teams. Many attorneys and judges take the time to discuss the profession with the interested youth, as well as provide feedback to encourage improvement. The volunteer scorers have nothing but praise for the youth and their efforts.

Harbor High Mock Trial team will continue their goal of winning state and eventually nationals. Go Pirates!