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After the closely contested final round on Saturday, March 5, 2022, Dos Pueblos High School was named the winner of the 39th annual Santa Barbara County Mock Trial competition, emerging victorious over San Marcos High School. Dos Pueblos will now go on to represent Santa Barbara County at the Mock Trial State Finals March 17-20, 2022. Carpinteria High School placed third.
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. Twenty-eight students from four high schools – San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, Carpinteria, and Laguna Blanca – earned individual awards for outstanding performance in the preliminary trials on February 26th. The medals were donated by the law firm of Rogers, Sheffield, and Campbell, LLP.
More than thirty local attorneys, including representatives from the offices of the District Attorney and Public Defender, scored student prosecution and defense teams in the fictional homicide case of People v. Cobey, as Superior Court judges presided over the trials and rendered their verdicts.
Judge Brian Hill, who presided over one of the final rounds, stated, “The Mock Trial program represents one of the most significant and meaningful extracurricular activities for high school students. The effort has been led by Dr. Susan Salcido, our Superintendent of Schools, who ensured that the program was maintained during the pandemic. Along with the efforts of the County Education Office, there are tremendous contributions from parents, teachers, the local bar and the Superior Court. All of these collaborators can take pride that Santa Barbara County has the reputation of producing among the best managed programs in the state.”
Superior Court Judges Tom Anderle and Donna Geck, Commissioner Steve Foley, and retired Judge George Eskin also presided over the Mock Trials.
In September, the students and their coaches receive the rules and the fictional case, including witness statements, evidence, applicable case law and a summary of allowable objections. Teams spend 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, Assistant 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 and future options. Our mock trial students become leaders in diverse fields, including law, public policy, business, education, medicine, research, engineering and the arts. They inspire us and fill us with pride and optimism.”
The Dos Pueblos varsity team was coached by Hannah Krieshok, Lisa Rothstein, Christine Voss, and Lina Somait. The San Marcos Royals were coached by Luke Ohrn, Hilary Dozer, and Jim Kreyger. 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 said that all participants should be proud of their performance in what is a rigorous competition of legal analysis, critical thinking, and public speaking. “In Mock Trial, students actively experience the excitement of working in teams, exchanging ideas, setting goals, and examining issues while interacting with positive role models from the community. We are proud of each of the students who participated for their commitment, dedication, passion, and composure during the competition.”
Dos Pueblos High School Principal Bill Woodard said: “As a former Mock Trial coach, I know how much hard work and talent it takes to get to this level. Huge congratulations to DP Mock Trial’s students and coaches and to the San Marcos program for an epic battle.”