RCOE Highlights

March 3, 2015

Eight Local High School Teams Advance to Mock Trial “Elite Eight”, Individual Honors and Internships Awarded

Awards for Blue Ribbon recipients include internships with Riverside County Public Defender’s Office, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, and the Riverside County Superior Court.

Danielle Ortiz and Mike Hestrin

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin presents Danielle Ortiz with the Outstanding Prosecution Attorney award at the 2015 Mock Trial Awards Ceremony on Saturday, February 28. A student at Patriot High School in Jurupa USD, Danielle’s award includes a summer internship in the District Attorney’s Office.

RIVERSIDE – After four rounds of courtroom competition, legal teams from eight local high schools have advanced to the “Elite Eight” of the 32nd Annual Riverside County Mock Trial Competition to be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at 6 p.m. at the Robert Presley Hall of Justice (4100 Main Street, Riverside). Additionally, more than a dozen students were honored for top performances with blue ribbons and prestigious internships in local legal organizations after the fourth round of completion on Saturday, February 28.

The pairings for the teams advancing to the “Elite Eight” on Wednesday, March 4 are as follows:

“Elite Eight” Round
Prosecution: Great Oak HS vs. Defense: Santiago HS
Prosecution: Hemet HS vs. Defense: Xavier College Preparatory
Prosecution: Martin Luther King HS vs. Defense: Citrus Hill HS
Prosecution: Poly HS vs. Defense: Patriot HS

The eight qualifying teams will compete for a place in the semifinals to be held on the morning of Saturday, March 7, followed by the final round later that afternoon.

The Blue Ribbon award recipients recognize the best performances by individual students in a variety of roles throughout the first four rounds of competition.

2015 Riverside County Mock Trial Competition
BLUE RIBBON AWARD RECIPIENTS

Outstanding Bailiff
(bronze medal) Marquez Arroyo, Martin Luther King High School
(silver medal) Kevin Beall, Temecula Valley High School
(gold medal) Natalia Rodriguez, La Quinta High School

Outstanding Clerk
(bronze medal) Emily Lombardi, Santiago High School
(silver medal) Sinporion Phuong, Jurupa Valley High School
(gold medal) Adriana Ramos, Citrus Hill High School

Outstanding Defense Pretrial Motion Attorney
(bronze medal) Alex DeSantis, Great Oak High School
(silver medal) Noor Harmoush, Chaparral High School
(gold medal) Brendan Brown, Poly High School*
*Winner of summer internship in the Riverside County Superior Court

Outstanding Prosecution Pretrial Motion Attorney
(bronze medal) Michelle Ortiz, Patriot High School
(silver medal) Adhemar Gomez, Centennial High School
(gold medal) Justin Thompson, Santiago High School*
*Winner of summer internship in the Riverside County Superior Court

Outstanding Prosecution Witnesses
(bronze medal) Det. Reese Barron: Evan Schreiber, Temecula Valley High School
(silver medal) Det. Reese Barron: Kaelyn Sabal-Wilson, Poly High School
(gold medal) Det. Reese Barron: Ryan Sobh, Santiago High School

(bronze medal) Bernie Worcester: Senuri Boralessa, Great Oak High School
(silver medal) Bernie Worcester: Daylen Gargalis, Santiago High School
(gold medal) Bernie Worcester: Connor Howard, Patriot High School

(bronze medal) Charlie Gibbons: Mark Green, Norco High School
(silver medal) Charlie Gibbons: Stephanie Robinson, Palm Desert High School
(gold medal) Charlie Gibbons: Hope Salts, Temecula Valley High School

(bronze medal) Marty McCulloch: Kolton Peck, Temecula Valley High School
(silver medal) Marty McCulloch: Armani Baktyary, Citrus Hill High School
(gold medal) Marty McCulloch: Noor Harmoush, Chaparral High School

Outstanding Defense Witnesses
(bronze medal) Evan Shem, Defendant: Kendall Balchan, Xavier High School
(silver medal) Evan Shem, Defendant: Kyra Espinoza, Hemet High School
(gold medal) Evan Shem, Defendant: Kaitlyn McArdle, Jurupa Valley High School

(bronze medal) Sidney Ogden: Justin Wheeler, Centennial High School
(silver medal) Sidney Ogden: Yadira Schrom, Poly High School
(gold medal) Sidney Ogden: Emily Arteaga, Martin Luther King High School

(bronze medal) T.M. Little: Krislyn LaCroix, Hemet High School
(silver medal) T.M. Little: Issac Kim, North High School
(gold medal) T.M. Little: Devyn Fowler, Nuview Bridge Early High School

(bronze medal) Jamie Sardegna: Sarah Picazo, Citrus Hill High School
(silver medal) Jamie Sardegna: Tuan Nguyen, La Quinta High School
(gold medal) Jamie Sardegna: Antonio Serros, Poly High School

Outstanding Prosecution Attorneys
Rachel Ornelas, Arlington High School
Jared Kanouse, Poly High School
Danielle Ortiz, Patriot High School*
*Winner of summer internship in District Attorney’s Office

Outstanding Defense Attorneys
Kendall Ferre, Poly High School
Fereshta Rashidi, Chaparral High School
Aba Samaan, Xavier College Preparatory School *
*Winner of summer internship with the Public Defender’s Office

Mock Trial involves students arguing cases in front of real judges and scored by real attorneys. The competition is open to all students in grades 9 through 12 enrolled in public and private high schools in Riverside County. Teams consist of 8-25 students filling the courtroom roles of defense and prosecution attorneys, witnesses, clerk, and more. The winning county team will represent Riverside County at the California Mock Trial competition to be held March 20-22 in Riverside. For a complete listing of the locations and schedules for all rounds of the competition, visit www.rcoe.us/student-events/mock-trial.

In this year’s event, students are arguing the fictional case entitled: People v. Shem.  People v. Shem is the trial of Evan Shem, who is studying for a Master’s of Fine Arts degree at Hamiltonia University. Shem faces one felony count, theft by larceny, for the theft of Treason, a painting by Fletcher Yazoo.

The Riverside County Mock Trial is sponsored by Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE), Riverside County Bar Association (RCBA), and Riverside County Superior Court, in cooperation with the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF). Since 1983, more than 12,000 students have participated in Mock Trial in Riverside County.