October 31, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Mock Trial Competes at Scarlet & Grey Invitational

Ohio University Plaintiff's Team prepares for trial against Xavier University's Defense, shown in courtroom.

Ohio University Plaintiff’s Team prepares for trial against Xavier University’s Defense.

The Ohio University Mock Trial Team sent one team to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to compete in the Ohio State University Scarlet and Gray Invitational on Oct. 27-28.

Team members were divided into two sides: plaintiff and defense. Each side participated in two trials for a total of four rounds over the course of the weekend. Two judges, one of whom acted as the presiding judge throughout the trial, scored each trial.

Members of the team are required to try out in early September for a spot throughout the year. Students must prepare a five-minute speech, be familiar with a witness statement, and finally, are given an extemporaneous topic and three minutes to make an argument. Twenty-four students were selected to participate on the team during the 2018-19 school year. Members will be assigned to roles as attorneys, witnesses, or both. Witnesses are responsible for being familiar with their respective affidavit or deposition, creating a character, as well as working with their attorney to prepare a direct examination and prepare for cross-examination. Attorneys are responsible for crafting opening and closing statements, being familiar with the rules of evidence to prepare for objections, and working with witnesses to practice both direct and cross examinations.

Members of the mock trial team at Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

Members of the mock trial team at Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

“We all invested a lot of time and effort into preparing for this invitational. I’m really proud of everyone and can’t wait to begin preparing for regionals!” said Lillian Mattimoe, a junior studying political science and criminology with a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture and the Mock Trial secretary.

Students who were not competing were required to observe two rounds of competition in order to further their understandings of how a mock trial functions.

“This case is a lot of fun to work with, so I really enjoyed participating in the tournament this weekend. It is also really important to get new members familiar with the idea of participating in a trial so they will be more comfortable when they have to do it in the spring,” commented Gabrielle Tharp, a senior studying political science and history and the Mock Trial vice president.

The Ohio University Mock Trial Invitational Team after the tournament

The Ohio University Mock Trial Invitational Team after the tournament, group photo.

The team competes under the umbrella of the American Mock Trial Association, which is made up of more than 600 teams from 350 colleges and universities. The case this year involves a civil negligence suit and cross-claims surrounding a chimpanzee attack during a pre-show rehearsal for a television show that resulted in the death of a writer, cancellation of the show, and the closing of an animal sanctuary.

“I’m very proud of how hard our team worked in preparation for this weekend,” said Taryn Osborne, a senior studying political science pre-law with a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture, and the Mock Trial president. “We got to see what other teams have been doing with the case, and it was a great opportunity to try out strategies to figure out what works and what doesn’t moving forward. Also, our new members got to see what mock trial looks like and what a competition weekend looks like. Overall, I think it put us in a really great position moving forward in our season and looking towards the regional tournament in February.”

The Mock Trial Team is coached by Pre-Law Advisor and Specialist Larry Hayman of the Ohio University Center for Law, Justice & Culture.

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