DP Mock wins first place at state competition

The Dos Pueblos High School Mock Trial team has just won the 35th Annual California State Mock Trial Finals. After an intense three-day competition played out in five trials against some of the state’s most talented teams, the Dos Pueblos team is now the State Champion. This is the first time DP has won in 29 years, making this win especially rewarding for the team.

VIDEO: Watch DP Mock Trial hearing their team win first place

“To hear our names next to first place, was the most gratifying, beautiful, moment of my entire life. I felt like everything I had done had just fit together in that moment like a puzzle piece,” said freshman and defendant Mariana Mezic.

Senior, team captain, and prosecution attorney Maggie Miller said, “I think [winning state] really shows the teamwork and education and family that we all have. It’s a great way to end senior year, honestly, especially with something that was so and— is so— important to my life.”

“It’s just the most amazing thing to put so much work in this and know it all paid off,” added sophomore and prosecution clerk Susanna Sinclair. She was also the defense’s unofficial timekeeper.

Senior, team captain, and defense attorney Nina Downey said, “We’re [seniors] really really going out with a bang, you know. And no matter what happens next, this is something that we can be proud of forever.”

Junior and lead defense attorney Cindy Diaz holding her award for “Best Attorney”.

Teacher Coach Kelly Savio commented, “The teams at the state level of competition are truly top-notch teams. We were thrilled to earn the chance to compete against them, and we’re even more thrilled now to be heading to the national competition. Win or lose, we hope we make our school and community and state proud of us. We’ve worked to represent Santa Barbara County well!”

Several team members watching the trials unwrap.

Along with Kelly Savio, the team has five attorney coaches who volunteer their time: Tyrone Maho, Susan Epstein, Deedrea Edgar, Joel Block, and Sarah Knecht.

The DP Mock Trial team will now advance to the national competition in Boise, Idaho in May.

(Written by Damara Lopez-Nelson)

DP Mock Trial Captures County Championship

Dos Pueblos High School’s varsity mock trial team won the Santa Barbara County Mock Trial Championship Saturday, after sweeping the final round against the varsity San Marcos High School team. The team will go on to the state mock trial competition in mid-March, which will be held in Sacramento this year.

“I feel incredible,” said senior Maggie Miller, one of the DP team captains and a four-year high school mock trial veteran. “We all gave it our best, which is what we needed to give in order to win this.”

For the third time in three years, DP had two teams advance past the preliminary rounds of the county tournament, held last weekend. The varsity DP team beat the junior varsity DP team in this morning’s semi-final rounds, while San Marcos beat the the Santa Barbara High School varsity team to advance. DP’s varsity team then faced off against San Marcos in the afternoon finals, held in the historic Santa Barbara courthouse.

“Both of the DP teams had absolutely stellar performances this weekend,” said Kelly Savio, teacher coach of the DP team. “They made their families and coaches incredibly proud with their quick thinking, poise, and good sportsmanship. The students have worked hard since getting the case in September, so it’s thrilling to see it all pay off.”

DP students who also took home individual awards during the preliminary rounds of the county competition last weekend include: Maggie Miller, Nina Downey, Jeremy Embar, Lola Macy, Rebecca Embar, Rafael Saavedra, Chloe Glikbarg, Jenny Jang, and Jenny Rothman. Along with Miller, the captains of the varsity team are seniors Nina Downey and Jenny Rothman, and junior Rafael Saavedra.

The case at hand focused on whether fictional character Jamie Hayes was justified in taking lethal force against security officer Lee Valdez in defense of a friend’s life, or if Hayes’ action was, in fact, murder.

Several DP students that competed this weekend were among the competitors from the DP team that won the New York Empire World Championship Mock Trial tournament in October. Those students didn’t begin working on preparations for this case until they returned home from that tournament.

Attorney coach Deedrea Edgar said she was proud of DP’s performance and great team spirit throughout the competition. She also expressed thanks to the students’ families for their generous support of the teams.

The DP teams’ attorney coaches include Edgar, Tyrone Maho, Joel Block, Sarah Knecht, and Susan Epstein.

Main Picture: The varsity DP mock trial team with Judge Brian Hill, who presided over one of the final rounds of the SB County Mock Trial competition. The students, from left to right, are Aidan Lethaby, Aidan Haggerty, Ainsley Diehl, Rebecca Embar, Nina Downey, Paige Maho, Natasha Lethaby, Jennie Rezek, Susanna Sinclair, Jenny Jang, Jenny Rothman, Mariana Mezic, Maggie Miller, Rafael Saavedra, Cindy Diaz, Daniel Kelly, Alexandra Edgar, and Chloe Glikbarg.   (Courtesy of Glenn Miller)

DP mock trial .JPG

Picture: Mariana Mezic, who played the defendant, sits with two of the defense attorneys, Paige Maho and Cindy Diaz. Behind them is bailiff Daniel Kelly. (Courtesy of Rafael Saavedra)

Dos Pueblos Mock Trial Captures Second Place at the NorCal Invitational Tournament

The Dos Pueblos High School mock trial team traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area this past weekend to compete against sixteen top teams from California in the sixth annual NorCal Invitational. Dos Pueblos captured second place, outscoring last year’s tournament champion, The Menlo School. The invited teams included the last two California State champions and both the 2014 and 2015 Empire NYC world champions.

Dos Pueblos High School junior Rafael Saavedra won first place as pretrial attorney. Seniors Jenny Jang and Ainsley Diehl both captured second place as expert witnesses. Senior Natasha Lethaby was awarded fourth place as a trial attorney at NorCal.

Teacher Advisor Kelly Savio stated, “They pulled off this impressive feat despite the absence of several key team members.” Four students, including both closing attorneys, were unable to participate because of a Santa Barbara City College calculus final exam.

Three members of the Dos Pueblos junior varsity team traveled to the Menlo Park tournament as substitutes. Freshman Ally Mintzer won first place at NorCal as Clerk.

Dos Pueblos mock trial was also successful earlier this year. Members of the Dos Pueblos varsity and junior varsity mock trial teams who were available for intensive practices throughout the summer captured first place in the prestigious Empire NYC worldwide tournament in October.

Meanwhile, other members of the Dos Pueblos varsity and junior varsity mock trial teams began practice in September for the Beach Ball Invitational Tournament held at UC Irvine in late October.  A highlight of the Beach Ball tournament for Dos Pueblos was beating this year’s NorCal champion Tamalpais High 3-1 in the first scrimmage.

Another exciting moment at the Beach Ball Tournament was when senior Eddy Mendoza won first place as a witness. Many other students were nominated for outstanding performances.

DP Mock at Beach BallThe Dos Pueblos Team at the Beach Ball Classic

Attorney coaches Deedrea Edgar, Tyrone Maho, Susan Epstein, Joel Block, Sarah Knecht, and Maureen Grattan meet with Dos Pueblos mock trial students multiple hours each week to teach, guide performance, and offer insights.  Many team parents help with travel, snacks, and other contributions.  Attorney Coach Epstein commented, “Many of the top teams in the state are private schools with greater resources, and Dos Pueblos’ success takes a lot of hard work and community support.”

The two state invitational tournaments and the Empire tournament offer great practice for the team as it continues its competition season.  The Dos Pueblos Mock Trial team is looking forward to the Santa Barbara County Competition in late February and hopes to compete at the State competition held in Sacramento in late March this year.

Dos Pueblos Varsity Mock Trial Students:

Maggie Miller, Nina Downey, Jenny Rothman, Aidan Haggerty, Eddy Mendoza, Jenny Jang, Natasha Lethaby, Ainsley Diehl, Rebecca Embar, Cindy Diaz, Chloe Glikbarg, Alexandra Edgar Gonzalez, Jennie Rezek, Rafael Saavedra, Aidan Lethaby, Susanna Sinclair, Dan Kelly, Paige Maho, and Mariana Mezic.

Dos Pueblos Junior Varsity Mock Trial students who competed at NorCal:

Miles Krestchmer, Sydney Fry, and Ally Mintzer

Dos Pueblos High Captures County Mock Trial Crown, Heads to State Championship

For the sixth consecutive year, Dos Pueblos High School’s Mock Trial Team has earned Santa Barbara County’s top honors, defeating San Marcos High 2-0. (Uptal Thakrar photo)

In another epic final against their archrivals, the Dos Pueblos High School Mock Trial team defended its county title by defeating San Marcos High 2-0 in the 2014 Santa Barbara County Mock Trial Championship on Saturday at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

It was the sixth consecutive county championship for the Chargers, who advance to the California state championship tournament March 21 in San Jose. In 2011, the Chargers and Royals tied for the county title and were declared co-champions.

The county championship continues an impressive run for Dos Pueblos, which also finished fourth at the Empire World Invitational tournament last October in New York City.

“I am so incredibly proud of our entire team, which is really more of a family at this point,” captain and defense pretrial attorney Delia Bullock said. “From our freshmen to our seniors, everyone really stepped up to the plate bringing confidence and poise to the courtroom.”

It was standing room only as spectators packed Departments 2 and 4 to see the two perennial finalists square off for the seventh straight year.

This year’s fictional case was the murder trial “People vs. Rae Concha.” In the case, a high school student named Jason Johnson collapsed and died during marching band practice with Adderall in his system. A witness came forward to say that Rae Concha is a drug dealer and sold Johnson the Adderall that morning, knowing that he had a severe heart condition. Concha was charged with two counts, possession with intent to sell, and second-degree murder for acting with implied malice and reckless disregard for human life.

Dos Pueblos High School captains Bela Lafferty, Delia Bullock, Madeline Matthys, Sophia Zheng and Camille Wyss show off their first-place trophy. (Uptal Thakrar photo)

The case also included a pretrial argument to exclude evidence after the police officer climbed up onto the defendant’s car to get a better look at alleged evidence. The defense argued that this violated Concha’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

For defense lead attorney Madeline Matthys, who had been a starting defense attorney for DP for four straight years, this year’s final with San Marcos was her toughest yet.

“Competing against San Marcos could not have been more rewarding,” Matthys said. “The level at which we compete against each other lets both of the teams rise to a level that is unprecedented.”

The Chargers had the unique challenge of facing DP’s junior varsity squad in the morning semifinal round. In the other semifinal, San Marcos defeated Santa Barbara High School. Attorney Steve Amerikaner of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck presided over the two championship trials.

Bullock and the team now look forward to preparing to make a run at the state tournament. Two years ago, the Chargers advanced through the 36-team tournament to the final round, where they fell short against their rival La Reina High School of Thousand Oaks.

“It is such an honor and thrill to be able to continue on to the state finals, especially when we faced such tough competition from San Marcos,” Bullock said.

Dos Pueblos Mock Trial Team

Prosecution Pretrial Attorney: Will Fredricksen

Prosecution Attorneys: Camille Wyss (captain), Ami Thakrar

Prosecution Witnesses: Kelly Thoits, Jenny Rothman, Alissa Kruidenier, Sophia Zheng (captain), Adrianna Carlos-Arellano

Clerk: Cindy Diaz

Defense Pretrial Attorney: Delia Bullock (captain)

Defense Attorneys: Madeline Matthys (captain), Maggie Miller

Defense Witnesses: Laila Halimi, Nina Downey, Bela Lafferty (captain)

Bailiff: Alexandra Edgar-Gonzalez

Timekeeper: Ashley Villalobos

Attorney Coaches: Joel Block, Scott Campbell, Maureen Grattan

Teacher Coaches: Bill Woodard and Kelly Savio

— Bill Woodard is assistant principal at Dos Pueblos High School and faculty adviser for its Mock Trial team. This story is republished with permission from Dos Pueblos High’s Charger Account.

DP Varsity to meet DP JV in the Santa Barbara County Semifinals

For the first time in program history, Dos Pueblos had two teams advance past the preliminary rounds of the Santa Barbara County Mock Trial tournament. And in a strange twist, both DP teams will square off against each other in the semifinal round.

photoOn Saturday, DP’s Varsity prosecution team, led by Camille Wyss and Ami Thakrar, defeated San Marcos JV, and Cabrillo HS. DP’s defense team, led by Madeline Matthys, Maggie Miller, and Delia Bullock, defeated Carpinteria and Laguna Blanca.

DP’s JV team took on San Marcos Varsity, Pioneer Valley, Santa Barbara JV, and Santa Ynez. There second place finish in their bracket advanced them to next Saturday’s semifinal, where they will have to take on their own varsity team. photo 3

DP’s Delia Bullock was named outstanding pretrial defense attorney,  Madeline Matthys was named outstanding defense attorney, Bela Lafferty was named outstanding witness for her portrayal of Rae Concha, and Jenny Jang was named outstanding witness for her portrayal of Dr. Rikki Sanchez.

DP Mock takes 4th at Empire World Invitational

DP Mock Trial had a great weekend in NY at the prestigious Empire Mock Trial World Invitational, earning 4th place in the 40-team tournament–coming up just a 1/2 of a single ballot from the championship round. 1453414_498975990200645_2129778912_n

On Saturday, DP defeated the state champion from Minnesota in the first round (3-0), and defeated the state champion from New Hampshire in the second round 3-0. Sunday morning DP had one of its best performances of the tournament winning one scorer’s ballot by 18 and another by 12 (which in mock trial are large margins). The third scorer gave the win to the other team by 1 single point which meant that even though we won the trial 2-1, we failed to capture the third ballot. That proved critical, because though DP advanced to the semifinal round vs Ohio, in that trial the Chargers ended up with a tie score on two ballots, and a loss on the other.

1468772_498975673534010_252201327_nStill, DP finished 4th against some of the best competition in the nation/world. For the second year in a row, Madeline Matthys was named one of the tournament’s best attorneys and Camille Wyss won best witness for her portrayal of the police officer. DP had the opportunity to compete in the beautiful Federal Courthouse in NY where they hold some of country’s biggest federal trials (terrorism, mafia, etc.). Gorgeous building, gorgeous courtrooms.

DP Mock earns trip back to NY for the Empire World Invitational

After advancing to the championship round last year and being stranded in New York by Hurricane Sandy, the Dos Pueblos High School Mock Trial Team has once again been selected to compete in the Empire City World Invitational Mock Trial Tournament to be held in New York City this October.

The tournament, considered the most prestigious high school mock trial invitational tournament, brings 40 teams to the Big Apple from across the country and around the globe — including teams from the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada and Australia.

This year’s tournament will be held Oct. 18-21 at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Brooklyn.

In their first-ever appearance at Empire, last year’s team upset their bracket’s top seed and advanced to the championship round, losing a close match against La Reina High School from Ventura County on the day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York.

Empire team trophy
La Reina’s team followed their championship at Empire by winning their unprecedented third straight California championship — once again edging Dos Pueblos in a tough first-round matchup. DP’s Madeline Matthys won an individual award as the tournament’s outstanding defense attorney. In addition, Delia Bullock and Ami Thakrar won recognition for outstanding witness portrayal and outstanding clerk respectively.

“The team is over-the-moon excited to be able to compete at Empire again this year,” said team co-captain Camille Wyss, who is a senior trial attorney. “Last year, not only did we have a fantastic time, it was the best competition we had had the opportunity to compete at. The atmosphere of the Empire competition — and New York City — is infectious, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the action again. I can’t think of a better way to start my fourth and final year with the Dos Pueblos Mock Trial Team.

“We have a long road ahead of us in terms of fundraising and preparing, but I am 100 percent confident that all of our work will be worth it when we get to New York and start to compete.”

The team is gearing up for a fundraising campaign to raise the necessary funds to travel to New York City for the tournament. The students will be holding a rummage sale in the Dos Pueblos High School staff parking lot from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27. If you have items you wish to donate, please contact Delia Bullock at delia.m.bullock@gmail.com.

Tax-deductible monetary donations can be made by sending a check payable to DPHS with the notation “Mock Trial” on the memo line c/o faculty advisor Bill Woodard, 7266 Alameda Ave., Goleta, CA 93117, or electronically by clicking here. Contact Woodard at bwoodard@dphs.org if you would like more information.

The members of the Dos Pueblos Mock Trial Team who will be competing at Empire are Delia Bullock, Madeleine Centrella, Laila Halimi, Alissa Kruidenier, Bela Lafferty, Madeline Matthys, Camille Wyss, Ami Thakrar and Sophia Zheng.

These students will now spend their summer preparing the fictional case of Midlands v. Dawson. In the case, Vanessa Sullivan, daughter of Midlands’ most prominent prosecutor, celebrated her 21st birthday with two friends, Taylor Hopson and Danny Dawson, at Chuggie’s Sports Bar. After several hours of celebration at the bar, the three left in a car driven by Dawson. On the way home, Dawson lost control of the car, resulting in a crash in which Sullivan was killed. A special prosecutor was appointed because of the conflict of interest in having the victim’s parent’s office prosecute the case. A grand jury has returned a multicount indictment charging the defendant, Danny Dawson, with murder and driving under the influence.

Announcing Mock Trial Summer Camp

Think you might be interested in Mock Trial?

Want to learn skills that will help you try out for Mock Trial?

Come to DP MOCK SUMMER CAMP Open to Incoming 7th through 12th graders

When: June 24-28, 2013 Time: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: DPHS—Room H-30

Cost: $125 Scholarships are available 

See Mr. Woodard or email him (bwoodard@dphs.org)

DP Mock Trial is one of the most prestigious (and fun) activities at DPHS. The team has won the county competition for the last five years. In 2012, the team was second in the state competition and second in a world-wide Invitational Tournament held in NYC. (Visit our webpage at http://www.dpmocktrial.wordpress.com for more information.) What will DP MT Summer Camp involve? It will be run by our JV Mock Trial coach, Corinne Dorais, in conjunction with several of our returning team members. You will learn: how Mock Trial works, how to analyze a case, how to develop a witness’s character, what the coaches will be looking for in September when try-outs for the team are held, and more… Sign-ups will be limited. Reserve your spot by completing the attached application and submitting your check for $125 (payable to DPHS, with a notation on the memo line, “DP MT Summer Camp”. Checks and application forms should be mailed or hand-delivered to DPHS, 7266 Alameda Ave., Goleta 93117. For more information, contact Corinne Dorais at Corinne.dorais@gmail.com.

Click below to download the flyer/registration materials:

Mock Trial Camp

DP Mock captures 5th straight county crown


2013 Champs pose with Superior Court Judge Brian Hill

Overcoming a shortened practice season and a hard-fought challenge from its arch-rival, the Dos Pueblos Mock Trial team defended its county title by defeating San Marcos 2-0 in the 2013 Santa Barbara County Mock Trial Championship Saturday at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

It was the fifth consecutive county championship for the Chargers who advance to the California state championship tournament March 22 in Riverside, California.  In 2011, the Chargers and Royals tied for the county title.

Attorney Coach Maureen Grattan with defense attorneys Ami Thakrar, Hannah Cruz, and Madeline Matthys

Attorney Coach Maureen Grattan with defense attorneys Ami Thakrar, Hannah Cruz, and Madeline Matthys

But this season the Chargers faced a unique set of challenges after an October trip to the Empire World Invitational in New York delayed their preparation for the county case by two months.

“Coming back from the world finals it was going to be quite a struggle to prepare for county jumping in so late in the game,” said co-captain and prosecution witness Nimisha Shinday. ”

“It was incredible to see how everyone pulled together as a team of both new and experienced members,” added lead prosecution attorney Alison Mally.

This year’s case involved a high school senior accused of felony hit-and-run after bicyclist Cameron Douglas was hit by a car and suffered serious and permanent injuries. The case also included a pretrial argument over whether the defendant’s statements to the investigating officer should be suppressed because the officer failed to read the defendant the Miranda warning.

Mally used her closing argument to poke holes in the San Marcos defense argument that their client Adrian Vega was not behind the wheel at the time of the accident and had allowed a foreign exchange student to drive her father’s expensive car.

“Your honor, what the defense is asking you to believe is that the one time the defendant disobeyed her father’s order and allowed someone else to drive her father’s vintage sports car, was the few minutes that it was involved in a crime,” said Matthys.

On the defense side, defense attorney Madeline Matthys emphasized the lack of physical evidence presented in trial.

“Officer Wright admitted that there was no physical evidence that placed my client in the driver’s seat at the time of the accident.”

The Chargers had defeated Santa Ynez in the morning semifinal round to set up the showdown with the Royals. Judge Brian Hill and local attorney Steven Amerikanner presided over the two championship trials.


“As Dos Publos Blue team heard they were facing off against San Marcos in the final rounds we were excited to have made it this far and, what’s more, have the chance to face an incredibly challenging and talented competitor,” said co-captain and defense attorney Hannah Cruz.

“The final round was an incredible experience and represented a cumulation of all the team’s hard work and dedication despite setbacks throughout the year. I am incredibly proud of both our teams and I look forward to representing Santa Barbara County at the state competition in Riverside!”

Sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, mock trial teams all receive the same case packet, witness statements and facts in September, and spend hours each week preparing their arguments and exams, researching the law, and developing character for the witnesses. Local attorneys donate their time to mentor and coach the students.

The Dos Pueblos Mock Trial team:
Prosecution Pretrial Attorney: Camille Wyss
Prosecution Attorneys: Alison Mally (captain), Madeleine Centrella, Laila Halimi
Prosecution Witnesses: Nimisha Shinday (captain), Sophia Zheng, Forbes Bainou, Camille Wyss
clerk: Jennifer Jimenez
Defense Pretrial Attorney: Delia Bullock
Defense Attorneys: Madeline Matthys, Hannah Cruz (captain), Ami Thakrar
Defense Witnesses: Bela Lafferty, Alissa Kruidenier, Jordan Degraffinreid
Bailiff: Wes Cooperman
Attorney Coaches: Joel Block, Nathaniel Block, Scott Campbell, Maureen Grattan