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January 18, 2018 at 12:36 pm

OHIO Mock Trial Team To Compete in Columbus, Toledo Regional Competitions in February

Prosecution team members seated L-R Taryn Osborne, Noah

Prosecution team members at Scarlet and Grey Tournament, seated L-R Taryn Osborne, Noah Allen, Elliott Smith, standing L-R Hazel Minich, Katie Belle Neuman, and Austen Burns

The Ohio University Mock Trial Team will send almost 30 students to compete in regional tournaments in Columbus and Toledo in February.

Two teams will head to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 10-11 for the American Mock Trial Association regional competition. These two teams will be competing against universities such as Case Western Reserve University, Ohio State University, University of Dayton, and Penn State University.

A third team will head to the University of Toledo on Feb. 24-25 for another regional tournament. This team will compete against universities such as Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, and Valparaiso.

For the competition, the Ohio University Mock Trial Team has divided into three teams of approximately 10 students each—the Green Team, the White Team, and the Gold Team. Each of the three teams is further divided into prosecution and defense sides. Each side has three attorneys who are responsible for developing case themes and theories, writing opening and closing statements, as well as preparing questions for direct and cross examination. During the competition the attorneys are evaluated based on their legal arguments, presentation, and knowledge of the case and rules of evidence.

Both the prosecution and defense will call three witnesses each during the competition. The witnesses are responsible for developing and maintaining a character throughout the competition. Witnesses are also expected to know their direct examination and be prepared for cross-examination. They must also know all information that is pertinent to their respective characters.

This year, the case is State of Midlands v. Dylan Hendricks, a criminal case in which the defendant is accused in the attempted murder of a rival. Students have the option of calling several witnesses, including Dr. Jordan Smith, a Professor of Telecommunications and Applied Engineering, to testify about cell phone records, Charley Waters, a street musician, and Jamie Morrison, an Uber driver, among many others.

The team has been preparing for the competition since September, and participated in the Scarlet & Grey invitational in Columbus. The students spend three or four practices each week where the teams develop their case theory, themes, strategies, and witnesses. The team also will be holding a two-day workshop to help prepare for the competition over winter break.

The Mock Trial team gives students a co-curricular learning experience that prepares them for professional careers, developing critical thinking skills, analytical skills. and oral and written communication skills, among others.  The organization is selective, and students are required to tryout at the beginning of each fall semester.

Winning teams from each regional tournament will advance to the Opening Round Championship Series in March. Ohio University advanced one team in 2016, being the only first-year team in the nation to do so.

The team is coached by Ohio University Pre-Law Specialist Larry Hayman of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture and Ohio University Associate General Counsel Grant Garber.

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