By Craig Petinak
Director, Public Relations & Communications Services, Riverside County Office of the Superintendent of Schools
The verdict is in, and Hemet High School has emerged victorious at the 32nd-annual Riverside County Mock Trial Competition held at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Riverside last Saturday.
This was Hemet High’s first championship in the Mock Trial competition. Several members of the team are former Idylliwild School students, including Kyra Espinoza, Danielle Simmons and Huck Reese
After a month of competition that started with 27 teams from across the county, the morning’s semifinal round competitions saw Martin Luther King High School defeat four-time defending champion Poly High School while Hemet High School advanced over Great Oak High School. These were the same four mock-trial teams from the 2014 semifinals.
The final round competition pitted Hemet as the prosecution and King as the legal team representing the defendant. HHS will now represent Riverside County at the California Mock Trial competition from March 20 to 22 in Riverside.
Mock Trial involves students arguing cases in front of real judges and scored by real attorneys. The competition is open to all students in grades nine through 12 enrolled in public and private high schools in Riverside County. Teams consist of eight to 25 students filling the courtroom roles of defense and prosecution attorneys, witnesses, clerk and more.
In this year’s event, students argued the fictional case entitled: People v. Shem. The case involved the trial of Evan Shem, who was studying for a master’s of fine arts degree at Hamiltonia University. Shem faced one felony count, theft by larceny, for the theft of “Treason,” a painting by Fletcher Yazoo.
The Riverside County Mock Trial was sponsored by the Riverside County Office of Education, Riverside County Bar Association and Riverside Superior Courts, in cooperation with the Constitutional Rights Foundation.