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Yosemite High School wins mock trial event

Madera County Schools
Madera South Award Winners, from left, Anthony Gutierrez, Alan Herrera and Hannah Casillas.

Yosemite High School won the 2017-2018 Honorable Edward P. Moffat Madera County Mock Trial held on Dec. 5, 6, and 9. Yosemite battled Liberty, Madera, and Madera South High Schools.


Yosemite High’s defense and Liberty High School’s prosecution teams competed in the championship round held on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Yosemite won the competition and will attend the State Mock Trial on behalf of Madera County.


“All of the teams did a great job, making for a very competitive contest,” said Dr. Cecilia Massetti, Madera County Superintendent of Schools. “Mock Trial allows students to demonstrate their learning in a powerful way.”


Students from Madera High School include: Kirandeep Bagri, Nathaniel Calderon, Devina Cazador, Mary Eledge, Isabel Escobar, Daniel Gomez, Arshdeep Kaur, Angel Medina, Crystal Moreno, Garrett Nolen, Jeevanjot Rai, Jadine Sic, Amanda Sordi, Gerald Tate, Benjamin Wood. The team was coached by teacher Michael Horder. Local attorneys Sally Moreno and Tracy Wise also coached the team.


Students from Madera South High School include: Hannah Casillas, Eric Cisneros, Guadalupe Cortes, Anai Cruz Moreno, Crystal Dominguez, Jonny Galan, Cynthia Gochez, Anthony Gutierrez, Diego Hernandez, Alan Herrera, Marissa Madrigal, Elvin Mendoza, Genesis Parra, Monica Ponce-Ramirez, Ariana Prudente, Ruben Reyes, Ruby Tiscareno. The team was coached by Rodia Montgomery-Gentry and attorney coaches Noah Marshall and David Petersen.


Madera South High School students received multiple honorable mention awards. Scoring attorneys nominated students for awards based on their performance. Recipients include: Hannah Casillas, prosecution attorney; Alan Herrera, prosecution witness; and Anthony Gutierrez, defense attorney. Madera High School student Garrett Nolan received an honorable mention for his prosecution witness portrayal. Crystal Moreno received the gold standard award for Madera High and Anthony Gutierrez for Madera South High. The gold standard awards were given by the coach.


Madera County will be sending a courtroom artist to the state competition. Leslie Ramirez from Yosemite High School won the courtroom crtist competition. She sketched a courtroom scene during Saturday’s trial.


“We are pleased to have a student artist represent Madera County at the state competition,” said Massetti. “We wish all of the students the best of luck during the next round of competition.”


During the fictional case People vs. Davidson, Casey Davidson was tried for murder.


Mock Trial students also discussed the Fourth Amendment during the pretrial argument.


The Mock Trial is a simulation of a criminal court case in which the students act as attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs and clerks. Attorneys from throughout the valley scored the students’ performance.


Yosemite High School has competed for all 34 years of competition in Madera and has won 27 times.


Each team was coached by attorneys as well as teachers in preparation for the trial. The Liberty team was coached by teacher Phil Brundage and Bethany Samarin and attorneys Rachel Cartier and Dan Martin. The Yosemite team was coached by Andrew Curtin and Deborah Brown and attorney Bernie McGoldrick.


Judge Dale Blea, Judge Ernest LiCalsi, Judge Michael Jurkovich, and Judge Charles Wieland presided over the trials. The Mock Trial was held on three separate days and teams participated in four rounds of competition.


The Mock Trial and other student academic events are supported by Madera County Superintendent of Schools and Madera County Schools Foundation through community and business donations and volunteers. Madera County Superior Court co-sponsored the Mock Trial.


California Rights Foundation provided the trial cases.