http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/03/09/mock-trial-team-headed-for-state-finals


Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 9, 2012

Mock trial team headed for state finals

Amador Valley prevails in Alameda County

by Jim Brice

The Amador Valley High School Mock Trial team is gearing up for California state finals after beating Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High School on Feb. 23 to win the Alameda County championship.

The AVHS squad outperformed 11 high school teams in Alameda County to qualify for state competition in Sacramento, being held March 23-25. Its season record includes a victory over American High School, Fremont, in the county semifinals.

The team has advanced to the California state finals in four of the past six years.

Attorneys Steve Sherman and Jerry Prettyman are coaching the 20-member Amador Valley squad. Sherman is a partner at Toby & Sherman, a boutique law firm in Pleasanton specializing in business and real estate. Prettyman is a patent and intellectual property attorney, also in Pleasanton.

A matching grant of $1,500 from Cycling for a Cause, a Pleasanton-based bicycle riders charity, and Pleasanton North Rotary Foundation supports the local program.

More than 8,000 students competed in the California's mock trial program this year, and high schools from 37 California counties will compete for the state title.

Each team consists of separate prosecution and defense squads. Other students assume the roles of bailiff, timekeeper, courtroom artist and courtroom journalist, according to rules established by the program's sponsor, the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Trials begin with a pretrial attorney who presents a constitutional law argument about whether specific evidence or a charge should be excluded. The pretrial issue this year is whether a supposed statute restricting the public's ability to carry concealed weapons violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The judges interrupt competitors frequently with questions regarding the facts or application of different cases. A competitive advantage goes to mock trial attorneys with a superior knowledge of the rules of evidence to make or respond to objections and cross examine the other side's witnesses.

Team members are Shreya Gupta, president of the 2012 team, Nima Aminian, Sara Borchers, Kevin Chen, Gabriella Chikhani, Chloe Connolly, Sheniqua Diaz, Vignesh Kalidas, Sally Kim, Kathryn Kitayama, Ryuka Ko, Shilpa Krish, Hunter Laine, Janel Lee, Samuel Lyou, Nick Powell, Sumana Rallapalli, Jennifer Tao, Rushan Vipani, Edward Wang and Eve Yuan.

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