14 May Day One at Nationals 2016: Dos Pueblos Mock Trial
Dos Pueblos High School is representing the Golden State at nationals this weekend and Justin Bernstein of Stand Up Mock Trial is our special correspondent. He gives us insight into the first day of competition.
Dos Pueblos travelled to Boise, Idaho mid week to scrimmage teams from Texas and and Washington in preparation for the tournament. The case is a civil legal battle over the death of over 700 sheep, allegedly poisoned by the defendant, a cattle rancher angry about encroachment on his land.
On the first day of competition the California champions were paired against the Iowa state champion, Marion High School. This powerhouse team has represented their state in three of the last four years at the national competition. The round was intense, and too close to call. Marion prosecuted, asking the question “what changed?” They told the jury to consider why the plaintiff’s flock only began to suffer catastrophic losses after her conflict with the plaintiff. Why did the sheep only begin to die when the plaintiff was given a permit to graze on land the defendant believed to be his? Dos Pueblos countered, asserting that the the defendant would not, and could not have harmed the flock. Attorney Maggie Miller received an award from the opposing team for her commanding performance in the round. Witness honors went to Nina Downey who was authoritative as former veterinarian, Sandra Murphy, who testified that it was impossible that the sheep had been poisoned as the plaintiff claimed.
Round two was an equally impressive match up, against former National Champion, school of 2015 Gladiator, Elizabeth Bays: John Adams High School. The Indiana Champion is formidable and nationally recognized for their fierce evidence handling. In this round the California champions argued plaintiff and asked the jury to “follow the poison.” They pointed to the physical evidence, found at the defendant’s ranch. And to the eye witness testimony of tampering with a watering trough. The nerdy, socially awkward daughter of the defendant, Shannon Bennett, portrayed by Ainsley Biehl was the star of the trial. She explained her father’s domineering personality and the condemning evidence found in his office: a book, open to the page describing the precise poison that killed the plaintiff’s flock. Attorney, Maggie Miller won a second attorney award.
The second day of national competition is already underway. We look forward to more updates from our California champions!