Young Squad Tries Murder Case

Nick Johnson, Staff Writer

The Mock Trial team participated in a simulated murder trial at the Contra Costa Superior Court House in Martinez on Tuesday, February 18. The trial was part of the competition that the county hosts each year.

Campolindo made it to the quarter finals of the 18 school tournament, but did not move on. The loss marks the end of Mock Trial’s competitive season.

Mock Trial is led by two captains, junior Sarah Sweeney  and senior Will Tamura. The club is advised by history teacher Lindsay Webb-Peploe, but vice principal Sharon Bartlett stepped in for the last few trials while Webb-Peploe was on maternity leave.

“We have rehearsals twice a week  and we write our questions in advance and practice them,” Sweeney said. “I think mostly we just have to practice because our team is three quarters rookies this year. As people get more comfortable, we’ll be more successful,” she said.

Bartlett praised their efforts over the course of the trial season. “I think our kids have done an exceptional job. The judges that sit in on the trials have been very complimentary,” she said.

Each trial simulation was held at the county courthouse in Martinez. Each team had the same case, “People vs. Concha,” regarding  a high school student with heart problems who died after taking Adderall. The case deals with the student who sold the drug, who was arrested and accused of second degree murder because he knowingly contributed to the boy’s death.

In the trial, there is a prosecution and a defense, with a county judge and professional attorneys who act as evaluators of the students’ performance.  The witnesses  have a script to follow as they are questioned, but they are allowed a certain measure of freedom so long as they remain true to their characters. Mock Trial judges and attorneys score their performance and provide immediate feedback.

“It’s humbling to see how hard the kids work and how well they can do,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said that kids who wish to join the club are welcome as they will be recruiting for next year’s season.