After facing off in Martinez courtrooms over the past month, a group of Orinda high school students have been named champions in the Contra Costa County office of education's mock trial competition, the office said Friday.
The team from Miramonte High School earned the county's top spot in the 31st annual competition after out-arguing rival teams from 16 high schools across the county.
Supervised by practicing and retired attorneys, the teams gathered in county courtrooms during the past four weeks to argue a fictional murder case, according to the office of education.
Each team member took on their own role -- from prosecutors and defense attorneys to trial witnesses, court reporters and clerks.
Real-life judges and lawyers rated the teams' performances.
The mock trial contest was designed to give students a better understanding of the criminal justice system and a chance to flex their speaking and analytical skills, according to the office of education.
The Miramonte High team will go on to represent Contra Costa County at the state mock trial competition in Sacramento from March 23 to March 25.
State finalists will advance to the national mock trial competition in Albuquerque, N.M., in May.