Student Work

Mock Trial: Lights, Camera, Murder!

By Siyan Chan (Class of 2021) and Sophia Liu (Class of 2020)

Photography by Rachel Blythe (Class of 2022) and Thanh Tieu (Class of 2020)

“‘Wouldn’t it be too bad if Taylor didn’t make it to the capitol hearing?’ These were the words of the defendant, Your Honor. She had intended for Taylor to die.”

The commencement of the 2020 Mock Trial competition in the county brought several high schools together to the Mendocino Courthouse in Ukiah on February 22 and February 29, 2020 for the annual Mock Trial Competition semifinals.

A Mock Trial is an imitation trial where students take on roles as lawyers, witnesses, forensic experts, clerks, or bailiffs. The competition is organized by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, which, according to its website, is designed to “help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system… and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society.”

After long hours of rehearsals and scrimmages with other teams, the Mock Trial Team of Developing Virtue Girls’ School was more than ready to take the stand.

This year’s trial involves a fictional case People vs Matsumoto, which, according to the Prosecution, is an exciting murder mystery. The Prosecution argues that the defendant Bailey Matsumoto, a skillful movie director, staged the murder of her spouse Taylor Matsumoto as an accident. Bailey had waited for an inebriated Taylor to return home, entered the bathroom where Taylor was and struck Taylor on the head with a golf club. Bailey had tried to get away with the murder by claiming Taylor slipped on the bathroom floor and fell into the bathtub, fatally hitting her head in the process.

However, according to the Defense, the Prosecution wrongly accuses Bailey Matsumoto of a murder she did not commit. The Defense argues that Bailey has time and time again shown herself to be a loving spouse, and the murder is something she would never do. When Taylor slipped and fatally hit her head on the bathtub trough, Bailey was asleep in the next room.

After several rounds of intense competition between Prosecution and Defense, the DVGS Mock Trial Team came in third in the county for semifinals, merely 0.9 points away from the second place team, Ukiah High School.

Here, we would like to congratulate some of the individual award-winners of the team in the county competition: 

Annabelle Shen and Jia Jia Ni: Outstanding Expert Witnesses

Heidi Blythe and Karen Liang: Outstanding Defense Attorneys

Rachel Blythe and Jocelyn He: Outstanding Prosecution Attorneys

An Nguyen: Outstanding Lay Witness

Sophia Liu: Outstanding Clerk

We would also like to thank the team members for all the effort they put into the preparation of this trial, not forgetting Mr. Finnegan and Ms. Applebee for their valuable time and effort in coaching us. It was definitely a trial worth remembering.

Also, a big thank you to the competition organizers, judges, and scorers! A round of applause for all the students who competed in the Mendocino Mock Trial competition this year!