Mock Trial


Mock trial is part of the Law Related Education and Prevention Programs, and part of the Student Support Services Department at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE), it provides students throughout the county with opportunities to engage in law and justice education.

Mock Trial is a trial simulation where students form defense and prosecuting teams and compete against each other before a judge in a courtroom. Participants develop critical thinking skills, confidence in public speaking, and knowledge of legal practices and procedures. After receiving the case in early fall, Mock Trial students dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort preparing for the February competition.

Mock Trial is coordinated by Law Related Education Programs in collaboration with the Santa Cruz County Bar Association, Superior Court of California Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz Trial Lawyers Association. February 2011 marked the 22st Annual Santa Cruz County Mock Trial.

Nearly 8,000 students throughout the state of California participate in local Mock Trial competitions. Through performance-based education, these students further their knowledge of our judicial system, history, content and conduct of our legal system, analytical abilities, communication skills, and team cooperation. Mock Trial teams receive guidance in courtroom procedures and trial preparation from volunteer attorney coaches.

Locally, over 20 attorneys volunteer as competition scorers and are given specific scoring criteria. The students are scored on team sportsmanship, presentation skills, analytic ability, and team cooperation. Approximately 10 local judges and commissioners volunteer to preside over the competition, making decisions regarding the running of the trial, rulings on pretrial arguments, competition violations, and announcing the verdict.

The Santa Cruz Mock Trial competition proceeds over the course of three days. Throughout the first two days, each team participates in two scored rounds. On the third day, the top four highest scored teams compete in the semi-finals. The top two teams then advanced to the finals. The award ceremony immediately follows the final round and recognizes students' outstanding work.

The Santa Cruz Mock Trial winner will compete at the state level against the winning teams from participating counties. Forty-four states, U.S. territories, and South Korea will participate in the two-day national competition.

Soquel High School is looking for students for next year's team.  Contact David Kline at: [email protected] if you are interested in learning more about the program.  In addition, students earn 2.5 elective credits per semester toward their graduation requirements!
Starting in September, students meet Monday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the library.