Mock trial places 7th at state meet

The upper school Mock Trial Team won three out of its four matches at the state competition, losing to Stockdale High School 256 to 257 the weekend of March 23. They placed seventh in state.

“The competition was intense and at a very high level,” Mock Trial coach and upper school science teacher David Hinden said.

“I thought our team did very well, and I’m very proud of them.”

All teams in the state tournament won their county competitions.

The Harvard-Westlake team went to the state tournament after beating 70 teams that competed in the Los Angeles County tournament in December.

“It’s a tough system,” said team cocaptain and pretrial attorney Max Rifkind-Barron ’07, “if you lose at any time, no matter how small the margin, you’re automatically transferred to a lower bracket. We still did very well.”

The state competition was held in Oakland, Calif. and consisted of four trials that were held over the two-day period.

The team took first place in the Los Angeles County Mock Trial High School division team competition in December. In addition to Hinden, Mark Inaba, serves as the team’s attorney coach.

The trial, which the team has been arguing since the start of the mock trial season in the fall, involves a bullied high school student accused of planting an explosive in a trash can to destroy her tormenters.

Each school in the competition practiced and provided lawyers, witnesses, a balif and clerk for both the prosecution and defense sides of the case.

The trial also featured a pretrial motion dealing with the constitutionality of banning violent video games.

The case was written in the form of a series of mock witness interviews, complied each year by the Los Angeles-based Constitutional Rights Foundation, the organization that also sponsers the competition.