SAN BERNARDINO — Four high school teams have advanced to the semifinals of the 40th annual San Bernardino County Mock Trial competition. Los Osos High School (Gold Team), Oak Hills High School (White Team), Ontario Christian High School and Redlands High School are scheduled to compete in person at the San Bernardino Superior Courthouse over a two-day period on Jan. 12 and 13.
Updates to this schedule will be announced prior to the event if circumstances necessitate a change in venue or transition to a virtual platform.
Twenty-eight teams throughout San Bernardino County competed virtually in four preliminary rounds of Mock Trial, which ended on Dec. 8. Only four teams secured a spot in the semifinals.
Los Osos (Gold Team) from Chaffey Joint Union High School District will showcase their legal skills against Redlands High School from Redlands Unified School District while Ontario Christian competes against Oak Hills (White Team) from Hesperia Unified School District for a spot in the finals. Each team will have an opportunity to argue its case as both the prosecution and defense. Only two teams will emerge from the two-day competition with a coveted spot in the finals event on Jan. 22.
The Mock Trial competition simulates a criminal case in which high school students portray principal courtroom attorneys and witnesses, representing both the prosecution and defense. Students present their case before a real judge and use constitutional amendments and legal objections.
This year’s case is People v. Cobey—the trial of Jamie Cobey, a horticulturist living in the community of Burnsley, Calif. Cobey is charged with the homicide of Cobey’s landlord and next-door neighbor, Erik Smith. Cobey is accused of intentionally placing a venomous snake in Smith’s mailbox, which fatally bit Smith and led to his death. Prosecution teams will argue that the defendant should either be convicted of first-degree murder or the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter.
The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office co-sponsor the event. The winner of the county competition will advance to the California Mock Trial Finals scheduled for March 18-20.