More Than 500 High School Students Will Square Off in Court at First Round of 35th Annual Riverside County Mock Trial

Twenty six teams will compete in Indio, Murrieta, and Riverside courtrooms Thursday, February 8. The fictional murder trial involves an extremist nationalist group.

Mock Trial team group photo in historic courthouse

The 2017 Riverside County Mock Trial Champs Poly High School will be competing again this year seeking their 18th title.

RIVERSIDE – A member of an extremist nationalist group in Acorn is dead and another young man from the same town is on trial for murder. The alleged crime is the subject of the fictional court case that more than 500 students from high schools in Riverside County will argue in Indio, Murrieta, and Riverside courtrooms starting on Thursday, February 8, 2018, during the first round of the 35th Annual Riverside County Mock Trial. Multiple rounds of competition throughout February will culminate with a new champion named on Saturday, March 3, 2018.

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, clerks, and more.

This year, student competitors will be arguing the fictional case of People v. Davidson. The trial focuses on Casey Davidson who faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Alex Thompson, a member of the extremist Ulta Nats group.

Poly High School (Riverside USD) returns after defeating Great Oak High School (Temecula Valley USD) in 2017 to clinch their 17th title in the 34-year history of the competition in Riverside County.

Blue ribbon award, paid internships, and scholarship recipients will be named after the first four rounds of the competition at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 24, at Bourns Technology Center in Riverside. The semi-finals and finals will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the Riverside Historic Courthouse.

The winning team will represent the county at the California Mock Trial competition to be hosted in Orange County on March 16-18, 2018. The National Mock Trial Competition will be held May 10-12, 2018, in Reno, Nevada.

First round matchups (prosecution vs. defense) on Thursday, February 8 are as follows:

Desert – Larson Justice Center, 46-200 Oasis Street, Indio

  • Palm Valley High School vs. Indio High School
  • Amistad High School vs. Palo Verde Valley High School
  • Palm Desert High School vs. Xavier College Preparatory School
  • Coachella Valley High School vs. Notre Dame High School

Southwest – Southwest Justice Center, 30755-D Auld Road, Murrieta

  • Hemet High School vs. San Jacinto High School
  • Temecula Preparatory School vs. Murrieta Valley High School
  • Heritage High School vs. Great Oak High School
  • Temecula Valley High School vs. Chaparral High School

Riverside – Robert Presley Hall of Justice, 4100 Main Street, Riverside

  • Arlington High School vs. John W. North High School
  • Patriot High School vs. Ramona High School
  • Martin Luther King High School vs. Valley View High School
  • Paloma Valley High School vs. Centennial High School
  • Santiago High School vs. Poly High School

For a complete listing of the schedules and locations for all rounds of the competition, visit

The Riverside County Mock Trial is sponsored by the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE), the Riverside County Bar Association (RCBA), and the Riverside County Superior Courts, in cooperation with the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF). Since 1983, more than 13,500 Riverside County students have participated in Mock Trial.