Today: Jul 10 , 2020

High School Students Practice Law During Simulated Trials

09 March 2017  

Saturday’s Arizona High School Mock Trial for Region 7 took place at the Yavapai Courthouse, pitting ten teams from five schools in a courtroom-style competition. 

According to the website, “The Arizona High School Mock Trial program… teaches students in grades 9-12 about the law and the legal system by participating in a simulated trial. The program is an opportunity for students to learn about the law and the legal system from practicing attorneys; for teachers to work closely with attorneys to reinforce legal concepts in the classroom; and for attorneys to share their expertise about the law and their legal skills."

Five schools participated in this year’s Arizona High School Mock Trial, some with multiple teams. Each school had at least one Team Coach, and an Attorney Coach. 

Teams of 6-8 students were given a scenario of an arson case in which someone died. It was their job to argue as either the defense or the prosecution before an actual local judge. There were four rounds, plus a final round, (all presenting the same case) lasting an hour and twenty minutes each. The teams traded off as either defense or prosecution. Each team provided attorneys and three witnesses. They made objections, asked direct and cross-examination questions of the witnesses, and presented evidence to the court. 

The top winning teams are invited to participate in the State Tournament which takes place the first week of April, and is held at the Sandra Day O’Connor Courthouse in Phoenix. The winner of the State Tournament advances to the National Tournament. Law for Kids reports, "Recognized as one of the top programs in the country, Arizona's representative at the National High School Mock Trial Championship won the championship in 1997 and finished in the top ten in six of the last ten years."

The judges were impressed with the students’ command of courtroom procedure, explained Attorney Debra Phelan, the event organizer, after she announced the individual Outstanding Attorneys, just before the final round. “What a nice job, you guys are phenomenal,” Phelan said.

After the final round, Prescott High School had the 1st place team, followed by BASIS Prescott with the 2nd place team. Round Valley came in 3rd, and BASIS had a second team that came in 4th. 


BASIS Prescott (Prescott) had two teams. Their Team Coach was Taylor Nelson, and the Attorney Coach was Sean Phelan.

Bradshaw Mountain (Prescott Valley) had one team. Their Team Coach was Bruce Giles, and the Attorney Coach was Mark Kille.

Prescott High School (Prescott) had four teams. Their Team Coaches were Brenda Lee and Don Kosco; their the Attorney Coaches were Andrew Becke and Bill Hughes.

Round Valley High School (Eager, AZ) had one team. Their Team Coach was Rhett Tenney, and the Attorney Coach was Bryce Hamblin.

Tri-City College Preparatory Academy (Prescott) had two teams. Their Team Coach was Mary Halvorson, and the Attorney Coach was Mitch Padilla.

Participating judges:

The Honorable Jennifer B. Campbell
The Honorable Joseph P. Goldstein
The Honorable Jeffery Paupore
The Honorable Patricia A. Trebesch
Magistrate Glenn A. Savona

Students nominated by the Judges as Outstanding Attorneys:

James Ashfield - PHS
Christopher Gundacker - PHS
Janelle Agosti - BASIS
Rachel Brown - Round Valley
Cameron Webber - BASIS
Emma Riley - PHS

Winning Teams: 

1st place -  Prescott High School

Ian Becke
Annie Beaupre
Madison Jackson
Connor Canedo
Clinton Culbert
Emma Riley
Abby Nelson

2nd place -  BASIS Prescott

Zach Roehr
Abby Huang
Judah Doyen
Indy Holdsworth
Janelle Agosti
Cameron Teel
Andrew Silvernale

3rd place -  Round Valley High School (Eagar, AZ)

Carson Merrill
Spencer Udall
Garrett Mann
Rachel Brown
Riley Latham
Catherine Madrid
Angelina Whiting
Janelle Pena

4th place -  BASIS Prescott

Madeline Rosenberg
Felicia Harvey
Anthony Black
Sierra McConnell
Cameron Webber
Elizaveta Lomakina
Trevor Stemm

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Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She will be leaving for new adventures on May 15, 2020.