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SMHS students conduct mock trial with city

SMHS mock trial. PHOTO by IRIS CAMPBELL

SUBMITTED REPORT

Standing prosecutor Frankie Torres, seated prosecutor Dino Occhialini, background Sam Aguirre, City of SM Legal Dept.. PHOTO by IRIS CAMPBELL

Students from San Marcos High School had the opportunity to participate in a mock trial on Oct. 24 with the help of the City of San Marcos Municipal Court.

Students from the Speech and Debate Team and criminal justice classes served as jurors, witnesses, police officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, as a drunk driving case went to trial in the criminal justice lab on campus.

This joint effort between the Arts & Communication Academy and the Hospitality, Business, & Law Academy at SMHS allowed students to experience all aspects of a trial, including jury selection, the trial itself, and jury deliberation and sentencing.

Sam Aguirre, a member of the City of San Marcos’ Legal Department, helpd four Speech and Debate Team members prepare for the trial. The students were fully responsible for selecting the jury, giving opening statements, questioning witnesses, and making closing arguments.

The prosecution team consisted of junior Frankie Torres and sophomore Dino Occhialini. The defense team included senior Michael Hoover and sophomore Jenny McGinty.

Mock jury. PHOTO by IRIS CAMPBELL

“I was so excited to experience actually trying a case,” McGinty said. “I hope to be a lawyer and my debate experience, along with mock trial, is really preparing me for that.”

San Marcos Juvenile Case Coordinator Lindsey Mena and Municipal Court Administrator Susie Garcia helped students understand each part of the trial. Municipal Court Judge John Burke presided over the mock trial and Deputy Marshal Rusty Grice served as bailiff.

Members of the criminal justice classes served as the defendant and witnesses during the trial. Junior Javier Meyers was the defendant, senior Greg Jasso was the police officer who made the arrest. Witnesses included juniors Natalia Rivera, Kris Franklin, Crystal DeLeon, Chris Sandoval, and sophomores Nikki Sanchez and Sarah Porterfield.

The jury for the trial was composed of Speech and Debate Team members and criminal justice students. The jurors included freshman Nick Gutierrez; sophomores Mariana Estrada, Brian Delgado, and Malorie Natal; junior Julian Hernandez; and seniors Anadeycy Morales, Brunneisha Madlock, Juan Ramirez, Logan Nicks, Errol Fredericks, Chris de la Iglesia, and Amber Navarrete.

Prosecutors Frankie Torres and Dino Occhialini at SMHS mock trial. PHOTO by C. J. ODAM

Defense team Michael Hoover and Jenny McGinty at SMHS mock trial. PHOTO by C. J. ODAM

Seated witness Kristopher, standing defense attorney Jenny McGinty, sitting defense attorney Michael Hoover at SMHS mock trial. PHOTO by IRIS CAMPBELL

Seated witness Nikki Sanchez, seated defendant Javier Meyers, seated defense attorney Michael Hoover, standing defense attorney Jenny McGinty at SMHS mock trial. PHOTO by C. J. ODAM