After battling in the courtroom all weekend, Santa Barbara County Mock Trial champions Dos Pueblos High School took home second place at the state finals, held on Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Los Angeles. The Dos Pueblos team and their fans erupted in cheer when it was announced that Dos Pueblos senior Jacob Molina was named “Outstanding Attorney” for his stellar performance defending the fictional robbery and battery case of People v. Franks.
There are 300 mock trial teams from 36 counties across the state, with the winning teams going head-to-head for a spot in the coveted championship round. Dos Pueblos defeated four other county champions to make it to the finals.
“Representing Santa Barbara County was an incredible accomplishment and honor for our team,” said Dos Pueblos High School Principal Bill Woodard, himself a former mock trial team coach. “We were so proud of how our kids rose to the occasion against the best of the best.”
Woodard said that Dos Pueblos has a long history of success – with three state titles and eight appearances in the final championship round.
“While coming so close to another state title may sting for a minute, these kids have made their coaches, their school, and their county proud,” Woodard added. “At the end of one round, the presiding judge – who’s a federal judge – called Jacob out and said she’d rank his motion work among the best she’s heard from actual attorneys in her courtroom.”
Following the awards ceremony, the even-keeled Molina shared: “I try to script as little as possible. I find that it’s a lot more fun for me, and a lot more believable and convincing, if I am able to be flexible and responsive and come up with things as they happen.”
In addition to examining witnesses from both sides, Molina presented the closing argument in the trial. He said that in those tense rounds leading to the finals, the team really kept strong and coalesced. “Coming together in that big moment, keeping our motivation and energy levels high, and being able to support each other and come through…was big for us,” he added.
At the county level, the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) co-sponsors the competition with the Santa Barbara County Superior Court and the Constitutional Rights Foundation.
“On behalf of the Santa Barbara County Education Office, I congratulate the Dos Pueblos mock trial team for their impressive victory. These students have worked so hard for so long– it’s exciting to see the state’s recognition of their tremendous efforts. Thanks to the families, the coaches, and all of the supporters,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido.
Dos Pueblos High’s Mock Trial team is coached by Hannah Krieshok, teacher coach; and attorney coaches Lisa Rothstein, Christine Voss, and Lina Somait. Team members are: