Mock Trial takes second

Court ruling yielded the same results as last year’s competition.

Victoria Artale
DBHS head coach Latitia Thomas, left, and forensic science teacher Ken Carlson advise the mock trial team.

In a competition with 101 other teams, 18 members from Diamond Bar High School’s Mock Trial team competed in the finals at the Los Angeles County courthouse on Dec. 4, losing to  LA school James Monroe High.

Advised by head coach Latitia Thomas and assistant coach Margaret Ku, the team competed in the finals with the aid of Deputy District Attorney Angela Brunson and DBHS forensic science teacher Ken Carlson. This was the second year in a row that DBHS finished second in the competition.        

This year’s case, “People vs. Matsumoto,” focused on the victim, Taylor Matsumoto. In the case, the victim was found dead in the bathtub with a contusion to the back of the head. The prosecution had the burden of proof to show that the death was caused by their spouse, Bailey Matsumoto, who struck the victim with the golf club.

The defense dismissed the prosecution’s theory and reasoned that the death was an accidental drowning with an argument based on the

fact that Taylor slipped on the bathtub’s trough.

To prepare for the competition, the team practiced Mondays to Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. since Sept. 13. The actual competition began Nov. 2.

At the semifinals, junior prosecution pretrial attorney Harris Daud started off the night with his pretrial argument. Although he was interrupted by the judge’s questions seven times, Daud still persisted through the pretrial motion.

“I give a four minute memorized argument arguing the constitutionality of the search conducted by the detective in our case,” Daud said via text. “I prepared for this argument by working with Ms. Thomas to write it, and then gave my argument to Ms. Thomas, Deputy DA Angela Brunson and the Defense Pretrial Attorney Emily Chen.”

Junior lead detective Phillip Ma received support from Carlson in preparation for his  performance at the semifinals.

“This year, I was Detective Micah Eisenberg,” Ma said via text. “To prepare, I would memorize questions my attorney would ask me and read in detail the case.”

DBHS trial attorneys in the contest were sophomore Eileen Zu, junior Crystal Tsao and senior Courtney Chan.

Chan was named MVP by the opposing team.

In addition to the court case, senior Katherine Chang, one of three DBHS courtroom artists, was awarded second place during the Mock Trial award ceremony for the courtroom art contest, where she was given three hours to draw a scene from the night’s trial.

“[The team] was amazing, but the night of the finals was definitely not their best performance,” Thomas said. “I think they were nervous and tired, but they still performed well, just not their best.”