For the 20th-straight year, Santa Claus is facing “trial” as part of a community service project of the San Antonio Bar Association.

San Antonio police arrested Santa on Thursday as he was handing out gifts at James Bonham Academy. He is accused of violating a fictitious statute concerning the separation of church and state, said Ted Lee, a San Antonio attorney who helps organize the annual mock trial through the San Antonio Bar Association U.S. District Courts Committee.

“The goal is to have fun. It’s educational in a fun sense,” said Lee, adding that students also received a lesson on constitutional rights from Bexar County District Court Judge Michael Mery on Wednesday.

The trial is set for 9 a.m. Saturday at the John H. Wood Jr. U.S. Courthouse before Judge Edward C. Prado. Members of Boy Scout Troop 285 will make up both the prosecution and the defense teams, and fourth-graders from James Bonham Academy will serve as the jury.

A Christmas party will occur after the trial … assuming Santa is acquitted. The prosecution has yet to secure a conviction in the program’s history (it’s based on “Miracle on 34th Street”), but Lee said the lead prosecutor is feeling confident this time.

“He said Santa Claus is going down."

For more information about the program, call Lee at 210-886-9500.