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Torrey Pines High mock trial team top in county competition

COAST CITIES — Torrey Pines High School’s mock trial team won first place at the 2013 San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition last month. 

The three day long competition places students in an actual courtroom setting, in this case San Diego Superior Court downtown, where they assumed the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case. This year’s fictional case was called People v. Vega, and it involved a hit-and-run trial and a pretrial argument on the Fifth Amendment.

Attorney volunteer coaches Brandon Saxon of the law firm Gordon and Rees and assistant U.S. Attorney William P. Cole assisted the Torrey Pines team. Saxon is also a Torrey Pines graduate.

The seventh annual event was organized by the San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Superior Court, San Diego Office of Education and Constitutional Rights Foundation. Second and third place winners were Westview and La Jolla High School, respectively.

“It’s incredible to have courtrooms full of super achieving, dedicated high school students, their teachers, parents, volunteer attorney coaches, and volunteer attorney scorers and local state and federal judges conducting mock trials and selecting San Diego County’s best team for the statewide competition,” said Judge Yvonne Campos, who co-chaired the program.

On March 24, the Torrey Pines team moved on to represent San Diego at the statewide competition, however they didn’t place; the state champions came from La Reina High School in Ventura County.

“We all celebrate the rule of law, our democracy and our Anglo-American jurisprudence which we export to other countries struggling with inept justice systems,” Campos said. “Whether or not these kids are tomorrow’s lawyers, at a minimum they are tomorrow’s citizen jurors and our community is better for it.”

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