Lindsay High School in mock trial competition
Lindsay High School are among 14 Tulare County high school teams competing in the annual Tulare County Mock Trial Competition which began Tuesday.
Open to the public, the preliminary rounds continue at 5 p.m. on Jan. 31 and Feb. 5 and 7. The semifinal round is set for Feb. 14.
The finals will take place at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 at the El Diamante Theater, 5100 W. Whitendale Ave. in Visalia.
Members of the public, parents, students and teachers are welcome to attend any of the trials.
The mock trial teams consist of 10 to 20 students who take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, court clerks and bailiffs. All teams must make their presentations based on identical hypothetical case materials. Each team, coached by local attorneys and school personnel, will present a case for the prosecution and defense twice during the course of the competition.
“The Mock Trial Competition is as exciting to watch as any courtroom drama,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “Our students do an incredible amount of preparation to understand the case law affecting their trial before taking on the roles of attorneys, witnesses and clerks. They do a masterful job of conducting themselves in court.”
All teams will present their cases before actual judges and attorneys, with three attorneys scoring each trial. The first four rounds and the semi-final round will take place in the Tulare County Superior Court, third floor.
This year, students will argue the case People vs. Vega. The case involves Adrian Vega, a prominent resident of Hidden Valley who is charged with failure to perform a duty following an accident — a felony hit-and-run. The prosecution alleges that Vega hit a bicyclist, Cameron Douglas.
The prosecution argues that Vega entered an intersection while he was texting, failed to stop at a stop sign, hit the victim and fled the scene. The defense argues Vega was not the driver of the vehicle, and instead Toni De Luca, a foreign exchange student who lives on the Vegas’ property, was the driver of the vehicle that struck Douglas.
The pretrial issue in People vs. Vega centers on the Fifth Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court decision as set forth in Miranda vs. Arizona. The issue in this case is whether or not the circumstances surrounding the defendant’s interaction with the police amounted to custodial interrogation.
Other teams competing in the 2013 Tulare County Mock Trial Competition are from Dinuba, Exeter, Visalia, Tulare and Woodlake.
“Mock trial is an extremely valuable competition,” Vidak said. “We applaud the teachers and attorney-coaches for investing many hours in preparing their students for this event, giving them a glimpse into the workings of our judicial system.”
The Mock Trial Program is sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and cosponsored 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 to 24 in Riverside.
For more information, contact Joy Soares at 651-0501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.