The Honorable Judge Antionio Reyes proceeded over the Fourth competition round of the 2023 Mock Trial round between Granite Hills High School (GHHS) Team A and Visalia University Prep High School (UPHS) Team.
GHHS also has another team, Team B who went against Tulare Union last night, said their LJE teacher and coach Leisa Navarro.
The trial was a murder trial. Kieran Sunshine was murdered in his hotel room. He was a part of a company called SMC and they were creating joint replacements. After further examination, it was discovered that the joint replacements caused a bacterial infection. Tobie Clark, who was an attorney in SMC, was on trial for the murder of Kieran Sunshine. There were 8 witnesses total, 4 attorneys for each side, a bailiff, and time clerks. All portrayed by students.
For mock trials, all schools get the same packet and information. They are to create their cases, arguments, questions, etc for the competitions. The competition is based on knowledge of the materials, the presentation of the questions/materials, and overall performance. Attorneys are to know the rules of evidence, learn what evidence is allowed in and not (that is the objection part).
Both teams, University Prep on Defense, and GHHS Team A for Prosecution presented their case in front of Judge Reyes, and two attorneys scored the teams.
Ultimately, the Judge said that Clark's fingerprints were found on the weapon. And he said, "You guys did an excellent job."
Ends up there wasn't enough evidence to prove that someone else murdered Kieran Sunshine.
It was a compelling case, and both teams did a great job proving their cases, and Judge Reyes was complementary saying, "You both did a great job. But when you make objections make sure you make a point. And always move on. Also keep the aggression going."
Watching the Mock Trial it seemed that it was almost like a fight or an argument (amicable) between the two teams trying to prove their point. And the students were amazing. These Mock Trials teach public speaking, composure, poise, confidence, and a whole lot more.
One of the attorney's said, "I can't explain how hard it is to cross examine doctors, lawyers, and other witnesses. You guys did a great job."
The other lawyer present said he always enjoyed watching the Mock Trials, and that the witnesses were always great. "You are nervous at first. But because of all the prep work, you are able to relax a bit into the evening. The pretrial motion was great with the direct questions. And both sides did very well."
"Judge Roper and Robert Dempsey have been helping both Granite Hills teams out this year, for about 5 months while the students prepare for the 2023 Mock Trials," said Navarro, "and the kids have worked very hard on this for 5 months. It is incredibly stressful to present these very real life materials and arguments in front of professionals and my students rise to the occasion every time."
The Mock Trial Program is sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and co-sponsored by the California Department of Education, the State Bar of California, the Young Lawyers’ Association, and the Daily Journal Corporation. The Tulare County Office of Education coordinates the program locally, with assistance from local attorneys and judges.
The champions from the final round of the Tulare County Mock Trial Competition will be eligible to compete in the annual state finals March 22-24, 2024 in Los Angeles.
The semi-finals will take place on Thursday, February 6, 2024 and the finals be held Tuesday, February 13, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.