Murder Trial Reinforces Elective Content


Amanda Young, Business Editor

Dino Petrocco’s Law and Society class visited the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland to witness a criminal court case on December 13. The students were able to see the final witness for the prosecution as well as the 1st witness for the defense in a real-life murder trial.

“It was actually really interesting to see a real-life murder trial. You hear about those things but you don’t really comprehend the reality that this person actually took another person’s life,” said sophomore Connie Kim.

Sophomore Walker Rhodes thought the trial helped him understand the legal system more. “It was a good experience because you talk about it in class and then you don’t actually really get to see it until you’re in the courtroom,” he said.

“In class, we only get to learn about in theory how the law works, and we don’t actually get to see the judges and where they sit, and how the attorneys really ask their questions,” agreed Kim.

Petrocco said that the students seeing the “mundane aspects of a criminal trial” was particularly helpful. According to Petrocco, the 1st witness was an expert in cell towers, and despite its boringness, that evidence would most likely result in the suspect’s conviction.

“They [also] got to see the value of having a jury trial. This gentleman was receiving a fair trial; he was well represented, and there was a very diverse jury of his peers making a decision,” said Petrocco.

Both Kim and Rhodes said that the high stakes of the murder trial made it more engaging. “If it was a burglary, it would have still been interesting,” said Kim. But Rhodes concluded, “[the murder trial] was definitely more interesting.”

The visit did not last through the conclusion of the trial, so students were left without knowing whether or not the defendant was found guilty.

“I really wanted to know, but my guess was that he was convicted because the evidence and witnesses were pretty strong, and it didn’t support what he claimed to have said happened,” said Kim.