Mock Trial helps students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. Each year, CRF creates and produces a new set of Mock Trial materials based on an important issue facing America's youth. The materials include a hypothetical criminal case (including summaries of case law, witness statements, official exhibits, and simplified rules of evidence). With the assistance of a teacher, students actively experience the excitement of working in teams, exchanging ideas, setting goals, and examining issues. By studying the case and preparing strategies and arguments for trial, students also develop presentation skills, analytic ability, and team cooperation.
We compete in four rounds over three weeks, twice presenting the case for the prosecution and twice representing the defense. Students are the lawyers, witnesses, bailiff and court clerk. We compete in courtrooms in the Fresno County Superior Courthouse with a real judge presiding over the trial, while two local attorneys sit in the jury box and score the competition. The winners of the county competitions go on to the State Finals in March. In May, the winner of the state competition represents California at the annual National High School Mock Trial Competition, involving teams from 54 states and territories. This is a competitive team which holds auditions in late September.