PHILIP A. HARLEY MEMORIAL
MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION
The Alameda County Mock Trial Competition is a countywide high school criminal trial competition designed to increase understanding of our judicial system and the processes necessary to create a just society. Teams of nine to twenty five students study a hypothetical case, conduct legal research and receive individual coaching by volunteer attorneys in trial preparation, courtroom protocol, courtroom procedure, analysis and communication. Preparation begins in the fall and culminates in competition in January and February. The winning team represents Alameda County at the state competition in March.
We extend our deepest gratitude to our financial donors at Kazan, McClain, Satterley, Lyons, Greenwood and Oberman; our legal community; and each team’s teacher and attorney coaches for their commitment and generosity, as well as to the many members of ACOE’s staff who make this annual competition possible.
About Mock Trial
In 1980, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) spread the concept of the Mock Trial program (popularized in Los Angeles) statewide. Through performance-based education, the program furthers an understanding of both the content and processes of our legal system, increases basic skills, analytical ability and self-confidence, and promotes cooperation among students and differing cultures and interests.
Since 1986, the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) has been coordinating the Mock Trial Program in the county. The criminal mock trial competition relies on volunteer attorneys and judges throughout the county to score the competitors or preside over each courtroom. The coordinator establishes trial dates and venues, modify CRF's competition rules and procedures, and recruits volunteer judges and attorneys to score and preside over trials. The program involves 8 districts in the county and over 200 students from 12 public and private schools.
Each year, CRF develops a new set of Mock Trial materials based on an important issue facing America's youth. The materials include a hypothetical criminal case.
Students actively experience the excitement of working in teams, exchange ideas, set goals, and examine issues. From studying the case through preparing strategies and arguments for the trial, students also expand their analytic and presentation skills and develop team cooperation.
The annual success of the countywide criminal mock trial competition is dependent on volunteer attorneys and judges throughout the county. The Mock Trial Program needs Alameda County-area attorneys and judges to participate as coaches, scorers, and presiders in the upcoming Alameda County Mock Trial Competition.
Scorers are attorney-volunteers who score the Mock Trial competition. Scorers (two or more) sit in the jury box while the student teams present their case to a judge or commissioner. Scorers are given a set of criteria for rating the teams numerically. The criteria include the quality of the students' presentations, their grasp of the law and court procedures and their understanding of the case itself. Time commitment is approximately three hours per trial and you may score as many trials as you choose.
If you are a judge or commissioner, we welcome your expertise to preside over a mock trial. Time commitment is approximately two hours per trial and you may preside over as many trials as you may choose. Volunteering as a presider is a great way to educate junior and senior high school students about our courts and the justice system.
Coaching a team requires a greater commitment of time, but most coaches report a deep sense of fulfillment as a result of their effort. At least one coach is assigned to work with each participating Mock Trial team. Coaches advise students on general trial techniques and procedures and on specific strategies for presenting the case.
If you would like to volunteer your time and expertise to the Alameda County Mock Trial Competition, please contact Avi Black at (510) 301-7628.
Updated December 2014.
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Mock Trial Winners
2012—Amador Valley High
2010—Amador Valley High
2002—Bishop O’ Dowd
1996—Mission San Jose