CEO's Murder: Coachella Valley Students Go To Court For Mock Trial

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — The murder of a chief executive and the revelation of a plot to commit corporate fraud represent the basis for the fictional trial, People vs. Clark, which Riverside County students from 22 high schools will adjudicate throughout January and February at the 42nd Annual Riverside County Mock Trial competition organized by the Riverside County Office of Education.

Mock Trial involves students arguing cases in front of real judges while being scored by practicing attorneys. The competition is open to all students in grades 9 through 12 enrolled in public and private high schools in Riverside County.

Teams consist of eight to 25 students filling the courtroom roles of defense and prosecution attorneys, witnesses, clerks and more.

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Attorneys, judges, and legal professionals from across Riverside County are among the 14,000 students who have participated in Mock Trial now in its 42nd year of competition. The month-long competition is sponsored by Riverside County Superior Courts, the Riverside County Bar Association, and the Riverside County Office of Education.

The fictional case materials provide the facts and legal background for this year’s trial, People v. Clark. Sunshine Medical Components Chief Executive Officer Kieran Sunshine was found murdered in a hotel room with apparent stab wounds from a small saber used to open champagne bottles. A plot to commit fraud against the SMC board of directors surfaced, and the prosecution believes this was a motive for the murder.

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However, multiple executives at SMC — both of whom are family members of the deceased chief executive — may also have had motive or involvement. A review of the forensic evidence, collection techniques, and the legality of technology-focused warrants, will contribute to the fictitious trial.

The opening rounds will take place on Thursday, January 25, in three locations across Riverside County (first team listed is prosecution, second team is defense):

Desert area schools will meet at Larson Justice Center, 46-200 Oasis Street, Indio:
Click Here: factory direct women productsLa Quinta HS vs. Palm Desert HS
Palo Verde HS vs. Indio HS

Riverside area schools will meet at Robert Presley Hall of Justice, 4100 Main Street, Riverside:
Patriot HS vs. Martin Luther King HS
Valley View HS vs. John W. North HS
Santiago HS vs. Heritage HS
Notre Dame HS vs. Riverside Poly HS

Southwest Riverside County schools will meet at Southwest Justice Center, 30755-D Auld Road, Murrieta:
Hemet HS vs. Great Oak HS
Liberty HS vs. Murrieta Valley HS
Temecula Valley HS vs. San Jacinto HS
Paloma Valley HS vs. Santa Rosa Academy
Chaparral HS vs. Ramona HS

After multiple rounds of competition, the awards ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, at the Riverside County Office of Education Conference Center (4280 Brockton Avenue, Riverside).

The final competition will be held on Thursday, February 22, at 6 p.m. at the Riverside Historic Courthouse (4050 Main Street, Riverside).

The winner of the Riverside County Mock Trial will represent the region at the California Mock Trial Competition March 22-24 in Los Angeles. The state winner will advance to the National Mock Trial that will be held May 2-5 in Wilmington, Delaware.

In the 2023 Riverside County Mock Trial finals, Murrieta Valley High School defeated Martin Luther King High School to secure the championship for the first time in school history. Third place was shared by Notre Dame High School and Hemet High School.

For a complete listing of the schedules and locations for all rounds of the competition, visit

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