Novato High Captures 2nd in County Mock Trial Competition

Team is in just its second year but was 4-0 during the preliminary rounds and was edged by Tamalpais High in the final.

Novato High School's mock trial team captured second place honors in this year's Marin County Mock Trial Competition, held over the past two Saturdays.

The competition pitted 10 Marin public and private high schools against each other during two days of competition at the Marin County Civic Center. The competition featured high school students playing the parts of lawyers, witnesses, and court staff in a mock trial designed to simulate an actual criminal trial. 

 This year's trial, People v. Adrian Vega, involved an alleged hit-and-run incident in which a high school boy was charged with hitting a bicyclist with his car and leaving the scene of the crime.  In the mock trial, the student lawyers performed all of the roles present in a real trial, from arguing a legal motion, to presenting opening statements and cross-examining witnesses. Marin County judges presided over the trial rounds in actual courtrooms, while local lawyers rated the participants' performances.

Novato, which was participating in only its second year of the program, went undefeated in its four regular rounds of competition, defeating teams from Branson, Redwood, Marin Academy and Terra Linda high schools.  Novato lost in the championship round to Tamalpais High, which has won the competition for a county record 18 straight years.

As county champion, Tam will represent Marin County in the state championship in Riverside in March. A national champion will be chosen in Indianapolis in May.

Recognized for individual honors were NHS senior Travis Thayer, selected as one of the outstanding trial attorneys, and senior Alex Ferguson for his portrayal of a prosecution witness.

Other seniors on the team were Brieana Polk-Perez, Taylor Saunders, Alexis Caligiuri, James Dalrymple, Lili Bencomo-Peraza, Javier Curto, and David Dixon.  Rounding out the team were junior Annie Pa, sophomores Joe Blair, Duncan Frost, Tom Breese and Chase Caligiuri, and freshmen Marissa Reilly, Sterling Walsh, and Mason Weems.

The teacher coach was NHS history teacher Nancy Thomas, and the attorney coaches were the Honorable Kelly Vieira Simmons, a Marin County Superior Court Judge, and local Novato attorney Matt Pavone.

The program is coordinated by the Marin County Office of Education under the auspices of the Constitutional Rights Foundation.  It is co-sponsored by the American Board of Trial Advocates Foundation and the Daily Journal Corporation.

For competition coverage by the Marin Independent Journal, click here.

— Story provided by Matt Pavone. Did you take photos? You can hit "upload" and add more.

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Nara Caligiuri February 05, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Novato Mock Trial Team you are awesome! Great job students and coaches!!!
Brieana Polk-Perez February 05, 2013 at 02:00 AM
I will forever love this team. I know Novato will go against Tam next year, and they leave with the title of 1st place in Marin County. They have the support of the world's best coaches, so it's definitely going to be a victory.


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