South Mountain Mock Trial Completes Another Successful Season

Posted by Community Relations Department on 4/9/2014

The South Mountain Mock Trial Team had another successful season, ending with a top finish at the Arizona State Mock Trial Competition, March 22, and garnering several individual honors.  South qualified as one of 16 state teams after regional competition, and prepared for four months to both defend and prosecute a fictional case. 

“Team Red” opened the competition by beating Mountain Ridge High School, the defending State Champions in a 2-1 decision.  In the second round, they defeated St. Gregory’s, a private school in Tucson, 3-0.  South then took out the Arizona Academy of the Arts team, 2-1.   In the fourth and final regular round, with a chance to advance to the State Championship trial, South was edged by University High of Tucson, a multiple-time state champion.   South lost  one judge by one point and another by two points.  University went on to become the State Champions.

Team Red consisted of 7 students (including the team’s official timekeeper): seniors Markaya Hill, Anna Rose Santa Cruz, Logan Spahr, Angel Velez, Alexis Carter, junior Jorge Cervantes and time keeper, senior Alex Sanchez.  The team is coached by South’s Law Magnet teachers Andrea Sargent and Matt Smith; and the Honorable Lisa Vande Berg, a Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner; and Jason Gellman, an attorney from the law firm, Roshka, DeWulf and Patten.

South Mountain placed three individuals on the All-State Team, which was comprised of eight students, included five students from five different high schools.    Receiving All-State Recognition were Markaya Hill, Logan Spahr and Alexis Carter.  In addition, Carter was ranked #1 overall in the entire state of Arizona and received a check in the amount of $500 for her accomplishment.

“Having two students on the All-State team is spectacular.  Having three students on the All-State team is unheard of,” said Matt Smith.  “Congratulations to all involved and to these exceptional students who represented South Mountain High School and the Phoenix Union High School District at the highest level of a tremendous academic based competition.”

This year’s case involved a computer company that had provided “free” laptops to a fictional high school.  These laptops were equipped with a tracking system that used a webcam to take pictures of the students if their laptop was lost or stolen.  The company had an employee who went slightly above and beyond in his use of these pictures, and one of the students sued the company for emotional distress and illegal interception of communications.  The mock trial students represented the plaintiff in some rounds and the defendant in other rounds.  In every competition phase, the students presented an opening statement, examined three witnesses (portrayed by their teammates), cross-examined the other team’s witnesses and presented a closing argument.  Each student played the role of an attorney on one side of the case and a witness on the other.  Each round is presented in front of a real judge who rules on objections and court matters.  The jury is a panel of three practicing attorneys or judges. The team that captures the best of three judges scoring wins the round. 

Communication Magnet students  Eduardo Vidal Ramos (DJ Eduardo) and Carlos Martinez (DJ Carlos) were disc jockeys for a South Mountain Works Coalition Community Theatre presentation, March 27 at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.  The show was called “Tune In to What Works.”  The South Mountain WORKS Coalition is committed to bringing the community and its resources together to reduce alcohol use among youth (ages 12-20) in the South Mountain Community.