Students from Murrieta Valley, Temecula Valley, Chaparral, Great Oak, Lakeside and Paloma Valley high schools were among 500 students from 26 high schools in Riverside County who were set to take on roles of prosecutors and defense attorneys Wednesday for the start of the 30th annual county Mock Trial Competition.
The event was set to begin around 6 p.m. at courthouses in Indio, Murrieta and Riverside. A total of five rounds, plus the semifinal and final rounds, are planned this month and March, according to the county Office of Education, which is sponsoring the effort along with the Riverside County Bar Association and the Superior Court.
The county began holding student-level mock trials in 1983, and over that span, more than 10,000 youths have participated, organizers said.
This year's contest will challenge students to successfully argue the case of People v. Vega, based on a non-fatal hit-and-run in which a bicyclist was struck by a motorist allegedly texting while driving.
There are issues surrounding the reliability of witnesses and whether the defendant was properly Mirandized, according to a pseudo trial brief.
Practicing attorneys and judges will assess students' performance and award points according to criteria established for the competition.
After the final round on March 2 at the Riverside Historic Courthouse, the winning team will go on to represent the county at the State Mock Trial Competition in Sacramento on March 22.
Here is the round one competition schedule, that was slated to begin at 6 p.m Wednesday:
Desert - Larson Justice Center, Indio
Prosecution: Marywood Palm Valley vs. Defense: Indio HS
Prosecution: Palm Desert HS vs. Defense: Palo Verde HS
Prosecution: Xavier College Preparatory vs. Defense: La Quinta HS
Southwest - Southwest Justice Center, Murrieta
Prosecution: Hemet HS vs. Defense: Chaparral HS
Prosecution: Murrieta Valley HS vs. Defense: Great Oak HS
Prosecution: Lakeside HS vs. Defense: Temecula Valley HS
Riverside - Robert Presley Hall of Justice, Riverside
Prosecution: Rancho Verde HS vs. Defense: King HS
Prosecution: Santiago HS vs. Defense: North HS
Prosecution: Nuview Bridge Early College HS vs. Defense: Roosevelt HS
Prosecution: Paloma Valley HS vs. Defense: Jurupa Valley HS
Prosecution: Patriot HS vs. Defense: Poly HS
Prosecution: Woodcrest Christian vs. Defense: Citrus Hill HS
Prosecution: Arlington HS vs. Defense: Centennial HS
Other rounds being held:
Round 2 – 6 p.m. Feb. 13, Presley Hall of Justice
Round 3 – 6 p.m. Feb. 20, Presley Hall of Justice
Round 4 – 9 a.m. Feb. 23, Presley Hall of Justice
The awards ceremony to announce Elite Eight teams and Blue Ribbon Award winners will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center.
Other rounds being held include:
Round 5 – Elite Eight – 6 p.m. Feb. 27, Presley Hall of Justice
Semi-Final Round – 9 a.m. March 2, Riverside Historic Courthouse
Final Round – 1 p.m. March 2, Riverside Historic Courthouse
—City News Service and Maggie Avants contributed to this report.