High school students compete in mock trial


The San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA), in collaboration with the San Diego Superior Court, and the Constitutional Rights Foundation and with the support of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, organized the 2009 San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition which took place Feb. 4, 5 and 7 at the county courthouse in downtown San Diego.

The competition placed high school students in a simulated courtroom setting, where they assumed the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case. This year’s trial will dealt with the fictitious arson case, People vs. Lane.

High school students from The Bishop’s School, La Jolla High School, Dehesa Charter High School, High Tech High-San Marcos, Otay Ranch High School, Scripps Ranch High School, Steel Canyon High School, Torrey Pines High School and Valhalla High School competed in the three-day competition with the winner going on to represent San Diego County at the California Mock Trial Finals in March.

As part of the program, area lawyers volunteer to serve as coaches and scorers for the competition and superior court judges and commissioners preside over the mock trials.

“The San Diego County Bar Association is proud to give students the opportunity to participate in a mock trial dealing with such significant legal issues,” Jerrilyn T. Malana, SDCBA President said. “We are grateful to all of the attorneys and judges who volunteered to be a part of the program this year, and we hope that this experience will educate the students, and inspire them to consider working in the legal profession.”

The SDCBA’s Lawyer Referral Information Services provided a donation to fund the participation of schools which would otherwise be unable to participate in the program. The program is also funded in part by a grant from the State Bar Foundation, which helps to cover expenses such as food, registration and travel for the local champion to participate in the state rounds.

The competition was not open to the public. The San Diego County Mock Trial Competition program serves to promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for the law, court procedures and for the American judicial system. It 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. A video highlighting the 2008 competition can be found online at



Winner: Otay Ranch High School

2nd Place: The Bishop’s School

3rd Place: Dehesa Charter

4th Place: La Jolla High School

5th Place: Scripps Ranch High School

6th Place: Steele Canyon High School

7th Place: High Tech High – San Marcos

8th Place: Torrey Pines High School

9th Place: Valhalla High School


Attorney coaches

The Bishop’s School: Jennifer Kaplan Lisa Missett

Dehesa Charter High School: Marie Lavanier

High Tech High- San Marcos: Andrew Limberg

La Jolla High School: Danielle Hickman Patricia Herian

Otay Ranch High School: Lisa Baltro

Scripps Ranch High School: Daniel Bahk Victor Torres

Steele Canyon High School: Anne Perry Mark Velasquez

Torrey Pines High School: Michael McNeil Rebecca Ocain

Valhalla High School: no coach

California State Finals

Otay Ranch High School will represent San Diego in the California State finals, which will be held from March 20 to 22 at the Riverside County Courthouse. There will be one trial on Friday and three on Saturday, with the finals taking place on Sunday.