Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
Date: March 8, 2015

Contact: Rebecca Pirtle, Commissioners’ Office
(360) 337-4650 or

No: 2016-019

Mock trials give students real courtroom experience

(Port Orchard, WA) - High school students from throughout Kitsap County and Port Townsend gathered Feb. 27 for courtroom drama at the Kitsap County Courthouse in Port Orchard where they teamed up for a highly litigated mock trial competition. Each team represented the plaintiff in one trial, and the defendant in the other. The competition is part of the YMCA’s Mock Trial Program, founded in 1987, that offers teens access to and participation in the judicial branch of government.

Kitsap County Commissioner and former Judge Pro Tem Edward Wolfe, District Court Judge Jeffrey Jahns, Bremerton Municipal Court Judge James Doctor, and Superior Court Judge Kevin Hull volunteered to preside over the trials. The Port Townsend High School Team won the district competition and moves on to the statewide competition in Olympia March 18-20. Winner of the state contest will compete at the national level.

“It was an honor to be a judge presiding over these mock trials,” said Commissioner Wolfe. “Kitsap County should be proud of its teams. I commend the local YMCA for supporting this program and providing an opportunity for young people to learn more about the legal profession and develop their own critical thinking while working with real judges.”

This year, the annual mock trial centered on a case in which claimant Dana Calas was seeking exoneration after her robbery conviction was reversed, pursuant to RCW 4.100, a state law that spells out procedures for filing claims for compensation of wrongly convicted persons. The challenge for students, who served as lawyers and witnesses in the mock trial, was to prove whether the plaintiff could establish her innocence with clear, cogent and convincing evidence in her lawsuit against the state. Local courtroom lawyers rated each team’s attorneys and witness performance.

“The students displayed an amazing level of maturity, poise and analysis in their courtroom presentations,” said Judge Jahns, who serves as the judicial regional coordinator of the competition and marvels at how the confidence of students builds each year. “These children are going to be successes no matter what they do. Watching the high school kids performing is amazingly impressive. I expect I get more out of it than the kids do that are participating.”

The YMCA Mock Trial program is an effort to empower teens to develop an understanding of case law and the role of the court system. Students in grades 8-12 also learn skills in writing, research and public speaking. For more information, contact Judge Jeffrey Jahns, Kitsap County Mock Trial coordinator, at

Commissioner Ed Wolfe presides over a mock trial at the Kitsap County Courthouse Feb. 27. Courtesy photo


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Last Updated: 
March 08, 2016