Mock Trial Team Competes for First Time in Two Years


courtesy of Mark Powell

The UC High Mock Trial Team competes in a competition at the New Central Courthouse in Downtown San Diego.

Arielle Powell, Staff Writer

The UC High Mock Trial Team began their first two days of competition last month at the New Central Courthouse in Downtown San Diego for the first time in two years.

According to Stetson University, “Mock Trial is a competition in which students stimulate a real trial. The trial concerns an official American Mock Trial Association case that remains the same throughout the entire academic year.” The trials consist of a pretrial argument, opening statements, cross and direct examination of a variety of witnesses, and closing statements. The positions of attorneys, witnesses, court clerks, and bailiffs are all held by students. The trial is presented for a real judge, who determines a verdict at the end of the trial (

The case the team is working on this year is titled The People v. Matsumoto, a murder case featuring a pretrial argument on the Fouth Amendment, according to the Constitutional Rights Foundation, which runs the California Mock Trial competition. The prosecution is arguing that Bailey Matsumoto murdered his spouse with a golf club, causing her to slip into a full bathtub and drown. This complex case has a large amount of evidence, including a manuscript written by Bailey, diagrams of the master bathroom, and testimony from three expert detectives.

According to the Official Materials for the California Mock Trial Competition booklet, “The California Mock Trial program bases its Mock Trial Simplified Rules of Evidence on the California Evidence Code.” Students participating in Mock Trial get the opportunity to argue in a real courthouse setting, much like real practicing lawyers get to do.

On February 5, the team had their first competition. They served as the prosecution, and the court ruled in their favor, finding the defendant guilty. On February 11, the team served as the defense. Teacher Ms. Fournier, who is also the advisor for the UCHS Mock Trial team, explained that “Both teams put up a fight, asking thorough questions and making sure all of their evidence was brought in properly.” Though the court did not rule in favor of the defense, the UC High team did score more overall points than the team they went against. In the end, the team scored more points than two out of the four teams they went against.

At the final competition ceremony, Junior Serena Scott won an award for Outstanding Prosecution Attorney. “I was really surprised by this because the competition was very impressive. It definitely made our five months of preparation worth it,” said Scott.

“It is a lot of work, but it pays off in the end. I can guarantee that by participating in mock trial, your public speaking abilities and understanding of the legal system will improve drastically,” added Scott.

As the team prepared for the competition, according to the attorneys that coached the team, just three weeks before, half of the team dropped out due to outside conflicts. The remaining nine team members had to put in immense effort, including playing roles on both prosecution and defense, to make sure the team would not be disqualified from competing because of a lack of members.