South Mountain Law Magnet Mock Trial Places First in Tournament

Posted by Community Relations Department on 3/13/2013

One of the South Mountain Law Magnet Mock Trial Teams placed first in a regional mock trial tournament, March 2 at Superior Court in Phoenix, and will advance to the State Championships, March 23.  It was the first region championship for South since 1995.   Mock Trial is a competition where students play the roles of witnesses and attorneys in a made up case.  This year’s case is about a student who organizes an “Occupy” movement on their school grounds which results in damage to the school and the student is charged with four criminal counts based upon disruption of an educational institution.  Students presented opening statements, closing arguments and did direct examinations and cross examinations of witnesses.  Each of the six competitors must play the role of an attorney on one side of the case and the role of a witness on the other.  


Angelica Aispuro, Alexis Carter, Angel Velez, Markaya Hill, Anna Rose Santa Cruz, Denise Brown and official student timekeeper Brendon Hill make up the teamSouth students won individual awards for best attorney and best witness in several of the four rounds, and Carter won All-Region.  The team is coached by law magnet teacher Matt Smith, attorney Jason Gellman and Superior Court Judge Lisa VandenBerg.


The champion Jaguar team was just one of three South Mountain teams competing in regionals.  The Red team won Region 4, the Blue team also competed in the region, and the White team competed in Region 3.  South’s Red team outshined 14 other schools, including Brophy, Xavier, Scottsdale Chaparral and Desert Mountain and Desert Vista.

“It truly was an outstanding accomplishment for our students.  It was a sight to see as they competed round by round against some of the brightest students in Maricopa County, including many whose parents are attorneys or judges,” Coach Matt Smith said.   


“The “South Mountain Red Team” is a National-caliber team.  I had the privilege of being a National mock trial judge two years ago – and saw some of the top National teams compete.  I truly believe “Red” can win State and compete for the National title if they continue to work on the case.  In my opinion, they were and are that good,” Coach Gellman said.