University student and track and field star, Jamie Hayes, will be on trial for the murder of Lee Valdez, a campus security guard during this year’s Honorable Edward P. Moffat Madera County Mock Trial on Dec. 8, 9, and 10.
Teams from Yosemite, Liberty, Madera, Madera South, and Dos Palos high schools will be competing.
Yosemite has the distinction of winning the event 26 times over the past 31 years.
The Mock Trial is a simulation of a court case with high school students acting as attorneys, witnesses, clerks and bailiffs.
During the fictional case People vs. Hayes, Hayes will be tried for homicide. Hayes claims the homicide was justifiable.
The prosecution alleges that Hayes struck Valdez in the head with a baseball bat while Valdez was lawfully restraining Casey Barns, a suspect in recent vehicle thefts. The defense argues that Hayes did strike Valdez but had not formed intent to commit a homicide against Valdez.
The defense argues that Hayes could see Barnes being restrained and reasonably believed Valdez was using unlawful, deadly force against Barnes.
Mock Trial students will also be discussing the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. The issue is whether or not a statement made by Hayes during interrogation was voluntary or involuntary.
“This is a great program for students to learn about our court system and gain valuable knowledge from attorneys and judges in our valley,” said Dr. Cecilia Massetti, Madera County Superintendent of Schools. “We are excited to see the growth of our competition again this year with Madera High School returning to competition,” Massetti said.
Madera County Office of Education and Madera County Schools Foundation will hold this fictional court case at the Bass Lake and Madera Courthouses. Madera County Superior Court is co-sponsoring the competition.
The Honorable Edward P. Moffat Mock Trial begins on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Madera Courthouse. Judge Dale Blea and Judge Michael Jurkovich will preside. Participating schools include Liberty, Dos Palos, Madera, and Madera South.
The second trial will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Sierra Courthouse in Bass Lake. Judge Charles A. Wieland will preside. Participating schools include Yosemite, Dos Palos, and Madera South.
The last trial will take place on Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Madera Courthouse. Judge Ernest LiCalsi and Judge Joseph Soldani will preside. All schools will participate. Trials will begin at 1:30 p.m. each day.
Members of the Yosemite team, coached by government/economics/psychology teacher Eric McLane, and Oakhurst attorney Bernard McGoldrick include Dylan Allen, Kourtney Allen, Hope Byars, Sahvannah Costella, Jerome Luigi Garcellano, Natalie Guynn, Elise Keeler, Isabel McGoldrick, Sophia McGoldrick, Jennifer Mengistu, Lucina Montoya, Laura Pearson, Amber Persson, Kelly Ravel, Gabby Rivas, Matthew Roberts, Jennifer Springer, Rylie Sullivan, Cale Sweeney, Abigail Williams, and Alexander Williams.
Each school will provide a prosecution and defense team. Rounds consist of one school’s defense team going up against another school’s prosecution team.
The Mock Trial is designed to help students understand the workings of legal institutions. The teams are coached by volunteer attorneys in courtroom procedures and trial preparations.
The Mock Trial awards ceremony will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Madera County Office of Education. The winning team will be announced and nominated students will receive honorable mention and outstanding student certificates. All students will receive a certificate of participation and pin.
Attorneys from throughout the Valley will volunteer as scoring attorneys at the trial. Volunteers include: Nanette Beaumont, Steven Mortimer, Naser Nekumanesh, and Doug Nelson.
The winner of the competition will advance to the state competition March 18-20, in Sacramento.
In 2010 the Mock Trial was renamed to the Honorable Edward P. Moffat Madera County Mock Trial in honor of Judge Moffat who was a longtime supporter of the program.
Details: Events Developer Kristi Winter, Madera County Office of Education, ( 559) 662-3873.
Madera County Office of Education