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Mock Murder Trial Conclusion Rescheduled

MADERA – Those following Yosemite High School’s Mock Trial team will want to know that the conclusion of former high school student Rae Concha’s mock murder trial has been rescheduled to Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Madera Courthouse.

In this year’s Honorable Edward P. Moffat Madera County Mock Trial, the fictional case of People vs. Concha, has the defendant being tried for second degree murder and possession for sale of a controlled substance: amphetamine in the form of prescription Adderall.

The Mock Trial is a simulation of a court case with high school students acting as attorneys, witnesses, clerks and bailiffs. High School students from Liberty High, Madera High and Yosemite High Schools are competing.

Madera County Office of Education and Madera County Schools Foundation are holding this fictional court case at the Bass Lake and Madera Courthouses. Madera County Superior Court is co-sponsoring the competition.

Each school provides a prosecution and defense team. Rounds consist of one school’s defense team going up against another school’s prosecution team.

The Mock Trial is designed to help students understand the workings of legal institutions. The teams are coached by volunteer attorneys in courtroom procedures and trial preparations.

Attorneys from throughout the Valley will volunteer as scoring attorneys at the trial. Yosemite High School’s team is led by coach/teacher Deborah Brown with assistance from volunteer and attorney/coach Bernard McGoldrick.

The Honorable Edward P. Moffat Mock Trial is a three-day event that began on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at the Sierra Courthouse in Bass Lake, with Judge Charles A. Wieland presiding; competing that first day were Madera High and Yosemite High Schools.

The second trial was held at the Madera Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 5 with Liberty and Madera High Schools competing and Judge Michael J. Jurkovich presiding.

The third and final day of trial was originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7. However, due to anticipated snowfall in the mountains, it was unclear if Yosemite High School would be able to travel to Madera on Saturday for the competition. Madera County Office of Education decided to reschedule to ensure all teams would be able to participate.

Liberty and Yosemite High School students will go head-to-head as they argue People vs. Concha on Tuesday, Dec. 10 with Judge Ernest J. LiCalsi presiding.

Immediately following the trial the County champion will be announced at the awards ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. at Madera County Office of Education. All students will receive a certificate of participation and pin.

The winner of the competition will advance to the state competition March 21-23, 2014 in San Jose, CA. Yosemite High School has dominated the competition for two decades, coming in second last year to Liberty.

In People vs. Concha, the prosecution alleges that Concha sold Adderall to Jason Johnson out of Concha’s SUV with full knowledge that Johnson suffered from a heart defect. The defense argues the backpack alleged to contain bottles of Adderall and baggies did not belong to Concha, but rather to another student. Concha denies giving or selling any pills to Johnson.

Mock Trial students are discussing the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure. The issue is whether or not a vehicle search conducted by undercover police officer Robin Doherty was within the plain view exception to the warrant requirement.

“We are proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Mock Trial competition in Madera County,” said Dr. Cecilia Massetti, Madera County Superintendent of Schools. “This established tradition of excellence continues to offer students a glimpse into our court system and an opportunity to receive immediate feedback from local judges and attorneys on their performance.”

In 2010 the Mock Trial was renamed the Honorable Edward P. Moffat Madera County Mock Trial in honor of Judge Moffat who was a longtime supporter of the program.

“At this 30 year mark, we also remember the legacy of Judge Moffat and his commitment to open up the legal profession as a career option for our students who have participated in the Mock Trial,” said Massetti.

California Rights Foundation provided the trial cases.

For more information contact Kristi Winter, Events Developer, Madera County Office of Education at 559-662-3873.

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