Monday, March 8, 2010

Miramonte High School named Contra Costa County Mock Trial Champions

On March 4, Miramonte (Orinda) High School was named Contra Costa County’s Mock Trial Champion. Held at the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), the crowded room gave hearty congratulations to the team, and plenty of encouragement for their upcoming matches in the California State Mock Trials. This was Miramonte’s 4th Mock Trial County Championship in a row.

For seven consecutive Tuesday and Thursday evenings in February and March, 10 Contra Costa County high school teams have been battling it out in the courtrooms of Martinez with a hypothetical murder trial. The final-two matches Miramonte vs. Campolindo (Championship Round) and Acalanes vs. California (Consolation Round) were held March 2 in the courtrooms of the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse, in Martinez. Along with the Miramonte team, the following three teams in their respective rankings were also awarded: Campolindo (2nd place), California (3rd place), and Acalanes (4th place). In addition, there were a number of individual awards for outstanding achievement presented to students who represented all of the participating teams.

Miramonte High School Mock Trial Team

This year’s participating Mock Trial schools include Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch, California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), Miramonte (Orinda), Hercules, Heritage (Brentwood), and Northgate (Walnut Creek).

Contra Costa County Presiding Superior Court Judge Mary Ann O’Malley gave her overwhelmingly positive thoughts and observations about how impressive all the students performed during Mock Trials. “I look forward to seeing you all serving as attorneys in my courtroom in the very near future. And, I know some of you will be joining me at the Judge’s Bench, as well.”

Judge O'Malley with three of the five Judges' Choice Award Winners

Miramonte will represent Contra Costa County in the California State Mock Trial Competition, held in San Jose, March 19-21. (The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Philadelphia, Penn., May 6-8.)

Mock Trial is an academic activity for high school students coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, and sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. The purpose of this program is to teach students about the law and the workings of the legal system. Each participant portrays the part of a courtroom character such as an attorney, witness, court clerk, or bailiff. To prepare, the students conduct legal research and receive guidance on courtroom procedures from their school teachers and volunteer attorney coaches, where they acquire a working knowledge of the judicial system, develop analytic abilities and presentation skills.

An impressive number of 85 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, senior law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time to serve as Mock Trial Attorney Scorers and Judges with this year’s program.