On February 14th and 15th, the Clark County Washington Courthouse held a nine-team Regional Mock Trial Competition. The teams of high school students were tasked with trying a criminal case involving a confrontation over loud music, which led to a shooting and left a man in a coma, and whether the shooting was done in self-defense.
Each of the nine teams competed in six separate hour and a half long trials over the two days. The trials were rated by panels of three attorneys from the community, who rated each student on a 1 to 10 scale for their performance as either an attorney or a witness. The winner of a trial was the team with the highest cumulative score on at least two of the three juror score sheets for that trial.
Our attorney, Curtis Welch, coached two teams from Cascadia Technical Academy in Vancouver, and both teams placed first in each of their divisions. It is rare for teams from the same school to win both divisions at the Regional Competition. The Cascadia Tech teams have automatically qualified for the Washington State High School Mock Trial Championship on March 23rd – 25th in Olympia.
Curtis has been Cascadia Tech’s mock trial coach for six years, along with City of Vancouver Prosecutor Kevin McClure. This will be the fourth consecutive year that one of Cascadia Tech’s teams has advanced to the State Championship.
“I am very proud of the effort put forth by the students,” said Curtis. “They worked very hard to learn the materials and to practice the different phases of a trial covered in the competition – motions in limine, opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations, and closing arguments, plus learning several of the rules of evidence and court procedure in the process, including making proper objections to testimony and other evidence. They started work on the case in mid-October, so by the time of the Regional competition they had studied and practiced over a four-month period, and did so in addition to their regular coursework at their school. Also, only five of the twenty-five students on the two Cascadia Tech teams had any previous Mock Trial experience, so they had to put in extra work to overcome that lack of experience.”
Congratulations to all of the students for their hard work, and special recognition to Curtis for his leadership and coaching skills.
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