The courtroom in the classroom


Hannah Lee

Ventura High School’s mock trial program is designed to help young teenagers learn how to perform in a real courtroom. Mock trial is an extracurricular after school program where students participate in rehearsed trials to learn more about the legal system in a competitive manner.

The students are provided with materials including a hypothetical criminal case (including summaries of case law, witness statements, official exhibits, and simplified rules of evidence,) lesson plans on the central issues in the case, and competition rules and guidelines.

There are about 20 members in mock trial this year with a senior and frosh/soph team, both led by the team’s advisor, Miriam Arichea. They meet every Monday and Wednesday from 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m.

The team has been together for about four months now and has a received a murder case this season in which they must prove whether or not the defendant, Casey Davidson (who is played by Senior Eric Martinez,) is innocent or guilty.

Many VHS students are interested in law, but not many know that there is a club on campus that can help them pursue this interest. For those who are interested, mock trial sign ups are every year during club week.

Junior Jezel Mercado stated, “I joined mock trial because I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in law and I genuinely enjoy it. My Favorite thing about it is the fact that it feels like I’m an actual lawyer trying to defend my client.”

Students involved in mock trial also scrimmage against other schools.

Upcoming scrimmages include January 20 against Buena High School, January 31 against Thousand Oaks High School, and February 12 against Saint Bonaventure High School. Finally on February 15, is the school assembly where the students in mock trial act out their court case in the VHS auditorium.

Overall, mock trial interests a wide variety of students, some that love law and others that are actors and actresses who enjoy being in mock trial because it gives them a chance to explore creative acting opportunities.