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Bella Vista High School Team Wins 2016 Sacramento County Moot Court Competition

Teams From Local High Schools Argue First Amendment Case

Bella Vista High School (Team 1) posing with judges

Bella Vista High School (Team 1​​​), winners of the 2016 Sacramento County Moot Court competition.

This month, high school student attorneys raised some serious legal questions in court. Does a school have the right to regulate free speech? Does the First Amendment provide students with protection? Is the anti-bullying policy of "the Commonplace District" vague and too broad?

After extensive deliberation, a panel of judges hearing a fictional case (Artisan, et al. v. Commonplace School District) ruled that the attorneys for Bella Vista High School (Team 1) made the most convincing arguments, choosing that team as the winner of the 2016 Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Moot Court competition. Mira Loma High School (Team 2) was awarded second place. Bella Vista High School (Team 2) and Mira Loma High School (Team 5) tied for third place.

Third District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Vance W. Raye and Associate Justices Elena J. Duarte and Ronald B. Robie presided over the final round.

Competing Sacramento County Teams

  • Bella Vista High School (2 teams)
  • Christian Brothers High School (3 teams)
  • Franklin High School (2 teams)
  • Mira Loma High School (5 teams)
  • Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Charter High School
  • Rio Americano High School (2 teams)
  • West Campus High School (3 teams)

About the Competition

The Moot Court competition is an appellate-level proceeding in which high school students prepare and argue a case before a three-judge panel. Judges evaluate participants on the quality and persuasiveness of their legal reasoning and presentation, as well as their unscripted responses to spontaneous questions from the bench. The competition provides students the opportunity to learn about constitutional law and develop crucial public speaking and debate skills. A typical Moot Court team consists of 3 to 6 students.

The Moot Court competition is sponsored by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) in an effort to educate young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society. Past Moot Court champions are listed online. For additional information, email or phone Craig Irish: (916) 228-2660.