Torrey Pines High School students win 2013 San Diego High School Mock Trial competition

Torrey Pines High School students won the seventh annual San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition on March 2.

Students from Torrey Pines High School bested 18 other San Diego County high school teams to win the seventh annual San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition on March 2. The competition places public and private high school students in an actual courtroom setting where they assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case.

As the competition winner, the Torrey Pines High School team advances to represent San Diego County in the California Mock Trial finals later this month.

“We are proud to support this engaging program, and to provide students with firsthand experience and an understanding of the roles judges, lawyers, and juries play in maintaining our justice system,” said Marcella McLaughlin, SDCBA president. “The incredible focus and talent displayed by this year’s competitors is inspiring and San Diego is bound to have some dynamic new lawyers in the next few years!”

This year’s competition, which took place on Feb. 26, 28, and March 2 at the San Diego Superior Court in downtown San Diego, centered on the fictitious criminal murder trial of People vs. Vega, a hit-and-run trial featuring a pretrial argument on the Fifth Amendment.

As part of the program, SDCBA attorney volunteers served as coaches and scorers for the competition and United States District and Magistrate Judges, and San Diego County Judges and Commissioners presided over the trials. The program was co-chaired by Hon. Yvonne Campos and Hon. Linda Quinn (Ret.). U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick served as lead scorer for the competition.

“It’s incredible to have courtrooms full of super achieving dedicated high school students, their teachers, parents, volunteer attorney coaches, and volunteer attorney scorers and local state and federal judges conducting mock trials and selecting San Diego County’s best team for the statewide competition,” said Judge Campos. “We all celebrate the rule of law, our democracy and our Anglo-American jurisprudence which we export to other countries struggling with inept justice systems. Whether or not these kids are tomorrow’s lawyers, at a minimum they are tomorrow’s citizen jurors and our community is better for it.”

Mock Trials serve to promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for the rule of law, civics, court procedures and the American judicial system. The competition also offers students a real-life opportunity to challenge and improve basic life skills such as critical thinking, reading, public speaking and advocacy for ideas.

The Mock Trial Competition program is organized by the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA) and San Diego Superior Court, together with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the San Diego Office of Education. The program is funded in part by a grant from the San Diego Justice Foundation.

The winning students from Torrey Pines High School competed against teams from Academy of Our Lady of Peace, Cathedral Catholic High School, Christian High School, Coronado High School, Crawford High School, Dehesa Charter School, Del Norte High School, Escondido Charter High School, La Jolla Country Day, La Jolla High School, Lincoln High School, Otay Ranch High School, San Diego High LEADS, Scripps Ranch High School, St. Augustine High School, The Bishop’s School, University City

High School and Westview High School.

Founded in 1899, the San Diego County Bar Association is the region’s

oldest and largest law-related organization and is headquartered in downtown San Diego.

Final results:

1st Torrey Pines High School

2nd Westview High School

3rd La Jolla High School

4th St. Augustine High School

5th La Jolla Country Day

6th The Bishop’s School

7th Scripps Ranch High School

8th University City High School

9th Coronado High School

10th Otay Ranch High School