San Marcos High School wins 2020 county Mock Trial competition

The annual Santa Barbara County Mock Trial competition concluded Saturday, February 29, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. After a closely contested final round, San Marcos High School emerged the winners, narrowly edging out the Dos Pueblos High School Varsity Team. San Marcos will represent Santa Barbara County at the state competition in Los Angeles on March 20-22.

The competition, which is in its 37th year, is sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office with the support of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. It takes place over two successive weekends at the County Courthouse, with nearly 60 local attorneys from private law firms, the district attorney’s office, and the public defender’s office serving as volunteer scorers. Six teams from five public and private Santa Barbara County high schools competed over the course of the trials, acting as both prosecution and defense on a case developed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Participating schools were Carpinteria, Dos Pueblos, Laguna Blanca, San Marcos, and Santa Barbara high schools.

“The Mock Trial program is a unique, irreplaceable high school learning experience for participants. The County Education office, local bar, teachers, and parents collaborate to produce one of the absolutely top programs in California. The Santa Barbara Superior Court applauds these efforts and is committed to supporting this important educational activity,” said Judge Brian Hill, who presided over one of the final round trials. Hill, along with SBCEO Assistant Superintendent Ellen Barger, presented the trophy to the winning team. “The intense preparation, critical analysis, and reasoned arguments demonstrated by our students is inspiring,” Barger said. “Listening to their carefully crafted statements, testimony, cross-examinations, and motions citing case law, it’s easy to forget that we are watching high school students, and not experienced attorneys.”

“We are proud of each of the students who participated for their commitment, dedication, passion, and composure during the competition,” said County Superintendent Susan Salcido. “We are fortunate to have students, parents, coaches, and professionals who support this engaging and intense learning opportunity.”

The San Marcos team was coached by Luke Ohrn, Hilary Dozer, and Jim Krieger. Dos Pueblos’ teams were led by Hannah Krieshok, Lisa Rothstein, Christine Voss, Glenn Miller, Addison Steele, Greg Cameron, and Lina Somait.

The Santa Barbara County Bar Association donated a check for the winning team to travel to the state competition. The law firm, Rogers, Sheffield, and Campbell, LLP, donated medals that were awarded at the end of the first round of competition to 28 students for their exceptional performance.

Special thanks go to those who presided over the four rounds of competition: Judge Thomas P. Anderle, Judge Clifford Anderson, Judge Von Deroian, Retired Judge George C. Eskin, Judge Donna Geck, Judge Brian Hill, Judge Kay Kuns, Judge Monica Marlow, and Commissioner Steve Foley. Additional presiders include Stephen Amerikaner, John Thyne III, and Michael Hanley.