Cajon Earns Top Honors in Mock Trial Competition

Cajon Earns Top Honors in Mock Trial Competition
Posted on 01/22/2021
Cajon High School advances to San Bernardino County Mock Trial finals.

Cajon High advances to the finals in the 39th Annual San Bernardino County Mock Trial competition. Out of 26 high school teams, Cajon High School was one of just four to advance to the semifinals in the countywide Mock Trial competition. Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, and Los Osos were the other three. On Saturday, January 23, Cajon will face Los Osos to determine who will advance to the state competition.

“The entire Cajon family and everyone in San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) is proud of the Cajon Cowboys’ success,” said Cajon Principal Teenya Bishop. “It’s a bright spot in what has been a difficult year for everyone. It also shows the resiliency of our students, that they can achieve despite the challenges of distance learning.”

Mock Trial gives students a chance to test their acting, debate, and reasoning skills as they learn about part of the criminal justice system. Each participating school prepares a prosecution and defense team for that year’s case. The students will try the same case again and again against opposing teams during the season, honing their arguments. This year’s case is People v. Croddy in a case of aiding and abetting. Winning the case in Mock Trial is not just about the final verdict. A courtroom judge presides over each match, scoring each team and providing feedback before their next match.

Other than the judge and “jury,” students take on all of the roles, from defense attorneys to prosecution witnesses. Student witnesses have to memorize their character’s testimony so they can appropriately answer any questions that the student attorneys might ask. Attorneys, who usually work in teams, might craft a closing argument or focus on questioning witnesses. The goal is to follow real courtroom procedures and treat the case as if it were a real trial.

“It’s not like a play. There isn’t a script. It is more like a rough outline,” Cajon Mock Trial Head Coach Robert Grande explained. “But the student witnesses do have to know their role backward and forward so they can answer any questions in character and accurately based on the witness information provided during trial prep. And the student attorneys need to be ready to respond no matter how the witness answers, including making appropriate objections or steering the questions back to the testimony they need.”

The 2020–2021 Mock Trial season presented some unique challenges since students could not meet together to practice in person, and even the competitions had to be held virtually. None of that stopped the student competitors and the coaches from giving it their all.

“This year has brought a new dynamic to Mock Trial, this includes practices, virtual competitions, and overall organization of everything Mock Trial,” Grande said. “I give thanks to the dedication of all students and coaches that have given so many hours to the joys of competing.”

The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office co-sponsor the event. The California Mock Trial Finals will be held in March 2021.

Mock Trial Team Members

Kaitlyn Aguirre

Raymond Altamirano

Celeste Alvarez

Kevin Amilpa

Ruben Cerda Vargas

Cassandra “Cassie” Davis

Trapp Fought

Andrew Gonzales

Emory Julian Ho

Jazzmonae Jenkins

Moyosoreoluwa Oduntan

Fatima Mora-Popoca

Guisselle Salazar

Ameila Soto

Cajon Mock Trial Coaches

Robert Grande, head coach

Stephen Gonzales

Bill Drake

Gina Florick


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