After the closely contested final round on Saturday, March 4, 2023, Dos Pueblos High School A Team was named the winner of the 40th annual Santa Barbara County Mock Trial competition, emerging victorious over San Marcos High School. Third and fourth places were awarded to Dos Pueblos High School B Team and Santa Barbara High School, respectively. Dos Pueblos High School A Team will now go on to represent Santa Barbara County at the Mock Trial State Finals in Los Angeles on March 17-19, 2023.
The Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) co-sponsors the two-weekend event with the Santa Barbara County Superior Court and the Constitutional Rights Foundation.
Six teams from five high schools, Carpinteria High School, Dos Pueblos High School, Laguna Blanca High School, San Marcos High School, and Santa Barbara High School, participated in this year’s competition. Twenty-eight students earned individual awards for outstanding performance in the preliminary trials on February 25, 2023. The medals were donated by the law firm of Rogers, Sheffield, and Campbell, LLP.
More than fifty local attorneys, including representatives from the offices of the District Attorney and Public Defender, scored student prosecution and defense teams in the fictional robbery and battery case of People v. Franks, as Superior Court judges presided over the trials and rendered their verdicts.
Judge Brian Hill, who presided over one of the final rounds, stated, “Under the leadership of our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Susan Salcido, and Associate Superintendent, Ellen Barger, the High School Mock Trial competition and tournament was, once again, a great success. Along with the efforts of the County Education Office, there was tremendous support from parents, teachers, the local bar association and the Superior Court judges and administrators. Everyone involved in Mock Trial can take pride in the fact that Santa Barbara County has the reputation of being among the very best programs in the state. It is the kind of educational experience that develops leadership and teamwork values, and contributes to a deeper understanding and respect for democratic institutions.”
Superior Court Judges Tom Anderle, Steve Foley, Donna Geck, Denise Hippach, Raimondo Montes de Oca, Presiding Judge Pauline Maxwell, retired Judge George Eskin, and Commissioner Carol Hubner also presided over the mock trials, along with several Deputy District Attorneys and local attorneys.
In September, the students and their coaches received the rules and the fictional case, including witness statements, evidence, applicable case law and a summary of allowable objections. Teams spent months after school developing their arguments and refining courtroom procedures and strategy to prepare for the competition.
“Mock Trial develops students’ critical thinking skills of deep research, intellectual perseverance, and mental agility as they study case law and prepare arguments,” added Ellen Barger, Associate Superintendent at SBCEO who oversees the program. “The combination of individual preparation, intense team collaboration and mentorship from coaches, attorneys, and judges has a transformational effect on students’ identities, future pursuits, and civic engagement.”
Dos Pueblos was coached by Hannah Krieshok, teacher coach, and attorney coaches Lisa Rothstein, Christine Voss, and Lina Somait. San Marcos was coached by Luke Ohrn, teacher coach, and attorney coaches Hilary Dozer, Jim Kreyger, and Heidi Sipes. More than 20 additional attorneys, teachers, and former competitors volunteered additional support and coaching to our county’s high school teams.
Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido congratulated all of the participants and winners, and acknowledged the staff and community members who coached and supported them each step of the way. “A heartfelt congratulations to Dos Pueblos High School Principal Bill Woodard and his enter school community. We commend you all for your commitment, dedication, passion and talent. This event represents a true communitywide collaboration, and an important opportunity for our students to experience democracy in action.”
Dos Pueblos winning team:
Liam Avolio, Edo Barel, Tobin Bohley, Victoria Chen, Charlotte Choi, Elyssa Crutchfield, Theo Evans, McKenzie Kelly, Rachel Lenchner, Anastasia Li, Koi Liechti, Amelia Mendro, Jacob Molina, Daniel Nickolov, William Shen, Maxfield Steele, Alok Thakrar, Sienna Valentine, Jonathan Yang, Io Zhu