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Learning about law by trial and jury
pic rop-court-4
Prosecutor Melanie Lopez addresses a the witness in the faux murder case. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
One vote was enough to sway a guilty verdict in the Shannon Jacobson vs. the State of California mock murder trial.

The exercise involving the judicial system is the second part of Joe Waller’s Careers in Law Enforcement classes.

In part one, Jacobson alias Shaky is involved in a barroom brawl resulting the shooting death of Jerry Lee Lewis alias Sneaky Pete. The entire scene was played out last month in all three of Waller’s classes.

His class room at Lindbergh School was once again transformed to a court house. Included was a judge, prosecutor, defense, bailiff, local court administrator, clerk of the court, court reporter and expert witnesses.

“But the most important people in the room is the jury,” Waller said.

Students in the ROP computer class served as the jury.

“Usually it takes all 12 (of the jury) to agree on a verdict,” he added. “But because of time, we’re going with a majority decision.

“(Jacobson) is on the trial for his life.”

Anthony Henderson, a senior at Weston Ranch High, served in the role of Jacobson. He enjoyed his juicy role in last month’s barroom exercise but was content at sitting quietly in the court room and awaiting his fate.

“I know it’s not real but I’m nervous,” Henderson said.

He relied on defense team consisting of Vanessa Canalita and Gabriel Dean, both seniors at WRHS. In turn, they hoped that the doctor as their expert witness was enough to convince the jury to set Jacobson free.

Meanwhile, Israel Luisjuan and Melanie Lopez took seriously their role as prosecutors, spending plenty of time on practicing the part.

Luisjuan, in his closing argument, went so far as to emote the shooting sequence: “Bang…Bang…Bang…Bang…Bang…Bang,” he said.

“We have enough evidence to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Shannon Jacobson murdered Jerry Lee Lewis. And that it was premeditated with malice and forethought,” Lopez said

 Cecilia Garcia served as judge. She was reluctant at first but soon embraced the role.

“It was pretty fun,” Garcia said. “I got to yell in the court.”

In order to prepare for the role, she watched Judge Judy on television.

As for the verdict, the jury found Jacobson guilty by a vote of 7-5.

Waller credited the efforts of both prosecutors and the defense for the one vote difference.

He has two more classes doing mock trials in the coming days.

“I’ve never had all three classes agreeing on a verdict in the years of doing the (mock) trial,” Waller said.