Laytonville High to Represent County in State Mock Trial Competition
MENDOCINO COUNTY MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION
At the 30th annual Mendocino County Mock Trial competition on March 3, members of the Laytonville High School Mock Trial team out-argued the Ukiah High School Mock Trial team in the final trial to reclaim the Honorable Judge Ron Brown Memorial Perpetual Trophy and earn the honor of representing Mendocino County at the State Mock Trial competition in Orange County on March 16-18.
Sponsored by Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE), the annual competition gives students the opportunity to experience the American judicial system first-hand. Student teams argue both sides of a fictitious case developed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the statewide coordinators of this academic enrichment activity.
This year’s competition tok place during two consecutive weekends with four schools vying for the top spot: Developing Virtue Girls’ School, Fort Bragg High School, Ukiah High School and Laytonville High School.
Student team members portrayed all key roles in the fictitious case of People v. Davidson in which Casey Davidson, a resident of the town of Acorn, California, faces a felony count of first-degree murder for the death of Alex Thompson, another young resident of Acorn and member of Ultra Nats, an extremist nationalist group.
The pretrial issue in People v. Davidson focuses on whether the Fourth Amendment allows the government to obtain routinely collected GPS location data from a third-party GPS provider. Law enforcement used such GPS information to gather evidence that Davidson had traveled (1) to Thompson’s residence several times in the days before Thompson’s death, and (2) to the meeting place of the Rads.
The mock trial event culminated in the top two teams arguing their cases in front of the Honorable Judge Ann Moorman while a packed house of parents and supporters looked on. After an intense battle between well-matched teams, MCOE Director of Educational Services Francis declared Laytonville High the winner.
Laytonville High School’s winning team included Sophia Avila, Kassandra Basler, Kiley Carter, Natalia Cuesta-Tineo, Bronwyn gilfillan, Caruna Gillespie Eve Kreiling, Cora Hamilton, Elijah Howard, Aurora Hardwick, Oliver Hill, Jephthah Ikeh, Wolfgang Peterson, Ivo Shere, Gracie Silva, Makai Steven, Madison Watson and Tyler Watson. They were coached by teacher Bruce Potter and attorneys Elina Agnoli, Luke Oakley and Beth Norman.
Although MCOE is able to defray the cost of competiting at the state competition by paying for team-member registration fees and a portion of their lodging expense, Laytonville team members must raise approximately $6,000 to cover the cost of transportation and meals for the whole team for the three-day event. Donations from supporters can be made payable to the Laytonville High State Mock Trial Team and sent to Laytonville High School, c/o Bruce Potter, P.O. Box 868, Laytonville, CA 95454.
Additional volunteers from the legal community who officiated and evaluated the competition included the Honorable Judges Clay Brennan, David Riemenschneider and Ann Moorman; and Judges Pro Tem Anthony Adams and Houston Porter. Volunteers also included scoring panels manned by Anthony Adams, Macci Baldock, Ginevra Chandler, Katharine Elliott, Tom Geddes, Jeanne Keevan-Lynch, Brian Momsen, Hanna Nelson, Jennifer O’Brien, Margaret Mary O’Rourke, Jamie Pearly, Andrea Pierotti, Angelina Potter, and Frank Zotter.
For more information about the Mendocino County Mock Trial Program, please visit Mock Trial.