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Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Tournament Semi-Finalists Face Off February 23

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, February 22, 2016
Willow Glen and Sobrato High Schools Battle in High School Mock Trial Championship Round

San Jose, CA (February 22, 2016) - Santa Clara County continues its venerable high school mock trial tradition with 25 high schools and more than 400 students competing in this year’s tournament.  The seven-round, four-week tournament is presided over by dozens of sitting superior court and appellate judges and is scored by hundreds of Bay Area attorneys.  The program, which gives students an authentic litigation experience, is sponsored by the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Each team must fulfill 18 distinct roles.  Students must be prepared to either defend or prosecute the case depending on the night, and serve as pre trial attorneys, prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses and court staff.  This year’s participating schools -  which is the highest number seen in recent history -  are BASIS, Castilleja, Cupertino, Downtown College Prep Alum Rock and El Primero, Gunderson, Homestead, Leigh, Leland, Lincoln, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Lynbrook, Mitty, Monta Vista, Mountain View, Pioneer, Prospect, Saratoga, Sobrato, St. Francis, Silver Creek, Valley Christian, West Valley, and Willow Glen.

On February 18, 2016,  Willow Glen defeated Gunderson and Sobrato defeated Lynbrook to advance to the finals, which will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23rd at the Old Courthouse located at 161 North 1st Street in San Jose.  The round will take place in the Opa, Authentic Greek Cuisine Courtroom (Dept. 17), which is named after the tournament’s top sponsor.  The Honorable Judge Sharon Chatman, a former Deputy District Attorney and long-time Superior Court judge will preside.  As in prior years, the final round scoring panel is comprised of top legal luminaries from the community, including District Attorney Jeff Rosen,  Santa Clara County Bar Association President-Elect Nicole Isger, City Attorney Richard Dole and County Counsel Orry Korb.

In this year’s case, the defendant, Jamie Hayes, a college student, is charged with second degree murder after inflicting a fatal blow to Lee Valdez, a campus security guard.  The prosecution will argue that Jamie Hayes seized an opportunity to act on his anti-police politics and that Jamie Hayes was among a number of campus trouble-makers who had multiple run-ins with campus security.  The defense will argue that Jamie Hayes was merely protecting his teammate from Lee Valdez’s over-zealous policing and excessive use of force and that Lee Valdez had a history of aggressive behavior.  The defense has sought to exclude incriminating statements made by Jamie Hayes following a long interrogation by the police as an involuntary confession in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Founded in 1917, the Santa Clara County Bar Association is a non-profit, non-regulatory professional organization working to provide training and support to member attorneys, improve and streamline local administration of justice, and serve the public by fostering improved public understanding of and access to the legal system. The Bar Association currently has over 2,400 member attorneys in the County.


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