Mock trial is postponed for BC Prelaw Club students

AK Pachla, Copy Editor

Participants in the upcoming mock trial, sponsored by the 223 Prelaw Club, met in the SGA Boardroom with BC director of student relations Chad Hidalgo and political science professor Dr. Charles Kim to review the case and discuss mock trial procedure on Feb. 19 at 9 a.m. As a result of this meeting however, the decision was made to reschedule the mock trial event itself for fall semester 2016.

The case at issue is People vs. Vega, a Fifth Amendment case about a young thief who was detained and questioned by police without being informed of his Constitutional rights regarding police interrogation. “We went with this court case because it has to do with Miranda rights.” The mock trial team will be presenting pretrial arguments on the case for both the prosecution and defense.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Miranda vs. Arizona, the Supreme Court case that compelled American law enforcement to begin issuing the now familiar Miranda Warning: “You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say from this point forward will be used in your prosecution. You have the right to an attorney.” Bakersfield College will be observing this historic ruling on Pre Law Day, April 29.

Among the major issues brought up were the number of people required for a full mock trial as opposed to the number of participating students. Dr. Kim, an experienced mock trial coach, recommends no fewer than eleven participants per team, and BC currently has four.

Another issue was the condensed time frame. “I was a little disappointed at the amount of time we have to prepare,” shared psychology major and prelaw minor Dyann Serrato. Serrato has done similar mock trials in one of BC criminal justice professor Christian Zoller’s classes. Overall, however, she and the other participants are excited.

Mock trial is a project of the 223 Prelaw Club. Named for the state initiative that offered BC, along with a dozen other two-year colleges across California, a four-year prelaw degree program, the 223 Prelaw Club connects prelaw students at community and junior colleges to law schools, as well as employment and internship opportunities similar to those offered by four-year universities.

This mock trial, formerly set to be on March 3, will be put off until the fall, but Kim spoke of plans for intercollegiate competition, as well as the integration of classes specific to critical thinking and litigation into the BC prelaw degree program itself.

“It’s a whole different type […] of thinking,” said Kim, talking about the precise specificity of legal language and how it is used in the courtroom. “Those [words] are determining factors.”

Kim calls mock trial “good training for future lawyers”, but mock trial isn’t just for prelaw students.

Students who are interested in finding out more about mock trial and future events, as well as the 223 Prelaw Club may contact Chad Hidalgo by emailing BCSGAStudOrgs@bakersfieldcollege. edu.