by Mark Shem, SCCBA 2010 President
[reprinted from the February 9, 2010, Daily Journal, SCCBA Monthly Newsletter]
Last month I challenged our members to a “trifecta” of professional activities for 2010: perform pro bono services, volunteer in the community or donate to a legal service agency. Throughout this year, I will continue to highlight these three important aspects of the Bar’s service to our community. This month, I want to highlight and recognize some tremendous individuals who have stepped up to the plate by volunteering to assist with the annual Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Tournament.
Hundreds of high school students across the county have been sharpening their analytical and oral communication skills these past few months with volunteer attorney coaches, practicing and training in the art of trial advocacy. This month in the Downtown Superior Court facility in front of sitting judges and practicing attorneys, they will participate in a mock trial involving a hypothetical criminal case. This year’s case involves Fourth Amendment issues and an allegation of murder. Jordan Bratton is a comedian whose career was on the rise when entertainment critic Preston Palmer posted scathing reviews of Bratton on social media web sites YellUp and Twitter. Palmer’s reviews singlehandedly trashed Bratton’s career. Now Palmer is dead, and Bratton is on trial for murder. Also at issue in the case is the legality of a police search of Bratton’s computer and online accounts with the social networking web sites.
This collaborative effort between the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Santa Clara County Superior Court bench, and the County Office of Education has helped initiate numerous legal careers of our colleagues. One of own local attorneys and SCCBA members, Sam Chuck, participated in mock trial in high school. Sam went on to law school and now practices in Santa Clara County.
Since the SCCBA Law-Related Education Committee Chair Kevin Hammon made the call for volunteers, 91 of you have graciously volunteered to score the students’ performances. This list, as of January 29, 2010, includes Brett Burlison, Tom Kuhnle, Judith Sklar, Jeffrey Townsend, Lisa Rogers, Robert Chastain, Patricia White, Chris Cobey, Maria Bellafronto, Clark Stone, Mary Wrightson, Deanna Burneikis, Mia Mosher, Rolayne Edwards, BJ Fadem, Andrea Flint, Nia Hildreth, Dennis Chiu, Michael Desmarais, Alison Buchanan, Jon Swenson, Katie Diemer, Sean Stenstrom, Amir Alem, Emann Chan, Allen Speare, Inchan Kwon, Holden Green, Stephen Kline, Robert Luft, Felicia Jafferies, Dawn Sweatt, Paul Colin, Mary Huser, Robert Coehlo, Elizabeth Pianca, Sheila Hathaway, David Bicknell, Gregg McKerroll, Susan Fish, Daniel Jensen, Jessica Rauff, G. Hopkins Guy, III, Phuong Fingerman, Dan Fingerman, Anthony Flemmer, Samuel Chuck, Michael Dodson, Nicole Ford, Alfred White, Jim Bratton, Rhesa Rubin, James Towery, Kristen McMichael, Jonathan Hicks, Daniel Rothbach, Harrison Taylor, Crystal Riggins, Mike Vidmar, Johnny Go Go, Jennifer Proctor, Patrick Hammon, Amy Smith, Mary Feldman, Rory Coetzee, Andrew Westover, Bernie Greenfield, Justin Draa, Josh Bennett, Eric Geffon, Katelyn Knight, Leslie Maglione, Yanna Sukhodrev, Kimberly Pham, Karen Heggie, Minal Belani, Nicholas Zeltzer, Rona Layton, Sam Phillips, Jessica Fry, Mike Amaral, Nicole Fraser, Laurel Sevier, Robert Weeks, Patrick Graber, Ben Ebert, Kirsten Fish, George Leavell and James Torre. Many of these individuals, to borrow a phrase from Judge Socrates Manoukian, belong to the Parthenon of Champions for volunteering for more than one round!
From our local superior court bench, Judges Ramon, Elfving, Loftus, Duong, Monahan, Chang (Ret.), Del Pozzo, Lee, Chiarello, Kumli, Herlihy (Ret.), Arroyo, Overton, Nishigaya, Zepeda, Schwarz, Barnum, Woodhouse, Piecre, McKenney, L. Edwards (Ret.), Clark, Jacobs-May, Kirwan, Persky and Ambler (Ret.) also graciously agreed to donate their time. And, from our Sixth District Court of Appeals bench, Justices Bamattre-Manoukian and Mihara have once again answered the call to volunteer. Many of our judges are volunteering for two or more rounds to make sure our students receive the benefit of their experience.
So, if you haven’t volunteered yet in your community, what are you waiting for?
I also want to recognize those SCCBA members who have been members of the Santa Clara County Bar Association for 50 or more years. They are:
Hon. John T. Ball 1959
Bertram Berns 1959
Frank Burriesci 1956
Stephen Gazzera 1955
James Gifford 1959
Russell Roessler 1955
Lester Sachs 1960
Thomas Salciccia 1958
Ernest Schmidt 1953
Vincent Sevely 1955
Bernard J. Vogel, Jr. 1956
Our legal community is so much stronger because we benefit from their experience and wisdom.
If you have not yet volunteered for our county mock trial tournament, the State High School Mock Trial Tournament Finals are coming to San Jose between March 19 and 21, 2010 and will be hosted by the Santa Clara County Bar Association in cooperation with the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.