Supporting Tomorrow’s Leaders through Mock Trial

Every year, the San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association membership rallies dozens of lawyers to support one of the finest programs in existence for young people: The San Bernardino County Mock Trial Competition.  

The Program’s goal is to give students a positive exposure to the justice system, and understanding of our Constitution, and give them a taste of what it is like to be a real attorney.  The students who participate always sing the praises of what they learned about the law, how their confidence soared, how they are able to communicate with their peers and adults in a more effective way, and became great public speakers. 

Around 20 San Bernardino County high schools each fields a team of up to 18 students. They are provided with a mock police report that contains a police investigation, crime scene diagram, and statements from four prosecution and four defense witnesses. The students assume the roles of prosecution attorney, defense attorney, witness, bailiff, and clerk and present an entire criminal trial in about two hours. The student attorneys make opening statements, conduct direct and cross-examination of the witnesses, and make closing arguments. They use the actual California rules of trial procedure, evidence, and objections. A volunteer attorney coach (many are SBCPAA Members) helps teach them the law, our Constitutional principles of justice, and how to present a case. The competition takes place over five consecutive weekly competitions held on Tuesday evenings, then one all day finals round.  At each of the competition sites—courthouses in Victorville, Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino—there are dozens of volunteer SBCPAA members who make the program work.  Many hours are donated to this worthy cause. 

Three of those helpful volunteers recently told SBCPAA President Doug Poston what Mock Trial meant to them.  This week’s contributor is SBCPAA Member Anthony Enciso, check back to see what SBCPAA Members Harry Gobrecht and Camille Oscar have to say about Mock Trial. 

The SBCPAA Membership strongly supports volunteerism—especially when it helps the leaders of tomorrow!  This year’s competition, which wrapped in December, was no different, SBCPAA will continue to support the County and community that is San Bernardino.