Camas Teams Sweep Mock Trials District Tournament

Camas Mock Trials

VANCOUVER — Both Camas High School Mock Trials teams swept their respective divisions Thursday night winning the annual District tournament, which was held at the Clark County Courthouse.
The teams, which are coached by Liberty Middle School teacher, Jackie Hoefer, have been preparing their case for months, and now look forward to competing at State in six weeks.
At the final awards ceremony held Thursday night, Camas senior Zane Shariff won the Division 1 Best Witness award, and was tied with Sarah Kaufman, of Ridgefield.
Savannah Deoschand, of Camas, won the Division 2 Best Witness award.

Both Camas Mock Trials teams at the Clark County Courthouse.

Camas Junior, Matt Svilar  won the Division 1 Best Attorney award and Baylee Allen, of Camas, was tied with Cody Hipskind, of Columbia White Salmon, to win the Division 2 Best Attorney award.


The teens shifted roles throughout six separate trials about a fictitious murder care of one Rosa Bud. Both the prosecution and defense teams had to contend with the prosecution of Jan Jasper, who was accused of criminal assistance of murder in the first degree.


It was a tough case to prosecute, said one of the jurors, who is a real-life attorney.

During a final session in court.
The Mock Trial teams had to prepare prosecutions, as well as defenses. Each team produced documents and witnesses, as well as raise objections during witness testimony.
In all, eight high schools competed in the two-day annual event, which is designed to teach students how the legal system works. Real judges presided over each trial with real attorneys acting as jurors.
Camas was represented by two teams: Team A and Team F. The team A prosecution was comprised of Haley Kendall, Matt Svilar, and Zane Shariff. Their witnesses included Anna Roche, Thomas Hudson, Claire Parker, and Acacia Mays. And it was incredible to see how well the students prepared.
The Team A defense was comprised of Erin Tully, Matt Svilar and Max Urbanek. Their witnesses included Zane Shariff, Taylor Hudson, Emily Neale and Ewan Parker. 
Team F was comprised of Baylee Allen, Nicole Buckley, Beth Abbay and Matt Abbay, who served as attorneys. The Team F witnesses were: Savannah Deochand, Sandra Maszak, Colby Allen, and Matt Abbay (who doubled as a witness), as well as Nicole Buckley (who also doubled as a witness).
The Mock Trials program is not an officially offered course at Camas, so the kids practice on Monday evenings and Saturday mornings for several months. They do this all voluntarily.
The Mock Trials event itself is sponsored by the YMCA and has been presided over by Judge Lewis for 25 years.
Hoefer has been coaching the team for seven years and feels it’s a great opportunity.
“They work really hard and it shows,” she said. “It’s a joy to do this.”
Svilar was feeling great after his award.
“This was fantastic,” he said. “This was so much fun. I’m thinking about becoming an attorney.”
After each trial, the judges and jurors critiqued their performances, and provided guidance on how to improve. However, they gave the students many accolades and one judge even said: “You guys are better prepared than a lot of actual attorneys. Well done!”

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