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February 28, 2020 at 10:16 am

Mock Trial Competes in Columbus, Brooks Wins Best Attorney

Diamond Brooks with her Best Attorney Award gavel

Diamond Brooks with her Best Attorney Award gavel.

The Ohio University Mock Trial team sent two teams to the American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament in Columbus the weekend of Feb. 22-23, with one student receiving an award for outstanding performance during competition.

The tournament took place at the Franklin County Courthouse with each team competing in four trials throughout the weekend. Eighteen students were divided into the White Team and Green Team, with each team responsible for a plaintiff and defense case. The teams competed against the University of Pittsburgh, Washington and Jefferson College, Adrian College, University of Cincinnati, Carnegie Mellon University, and Ohio State University.

Nick Bohuslawsky delivers the Prosecuting Closing Argument to the jury.

Nick Bohuslawsky delivers the prosecuting closing argument to the jury.

One member of the Mock Trial team, Diamond Brooks, a sophomore Honors Tutorial College studying Political Science, received a Best Attorney Award for her role as Green Team’s Opening Defense Attorney.  This is her second year receiving this award. Attorneys are judged on their demonstrated understanding of legal procedure and legal reasoning, command of the rules of evidence, collaboration with team members, professional presentation, and other criteria.

Defense Team Competes in Columbus, shown in group photo

Defense team competes in Columbus

This year’s case was a criminal trial, State of Midlands v. Jordan Ryder, in which the prosecution could choose either to pursue an aggravated murder charge or an involuntary manslaughter-child endangerment charge.  Both charges alleged that Jordan Ryder was responsible for the death of their twelve-year-old, chronically-ill daughter during a camping trip the defendant took their daughter on shortly after their release from prison.

Mock Trial returning member and president Lydia Wendel, a senior in Political Science Pre-Law, with a Certificate in Law, Justice, and Culture and a minor in Anthropology says she is hopeful for the future of the Mock Trial Team.

“This weekend was truly evidence of how amazing this team is going to be, and how much potential they have,” Wendel said. “With so many graduating seniors last year, we had only six returning members, and the team was really new. The fact that all of our new members were ranking and in contention for Outstanding Witness/Attorney Awards gives me so much hope for their years to come on the team. I’m so glad to leave Ohio University this spring knowing that we’ve built a team with so much promise in the years to come.”  Wendel is attending Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law in the fall on a full tuition scholarship.

Nick Bohuslawsky delivers the Prosecuting Closing Argument to the jury

Prosecution team competes in Columbus.

New member Michaela Beatham-Garcia, studying Political Science Pre-law, Global Studies, with a minor in German, said being apart of the team was a very rewarding experience.

“It was so rewarding to all of our hard work pay off this weekend. To see that we can contend with the high-caliber teams we faced this weekend, was very motivating. We are a very talented team and I cannot wait to see what we can do in the future!” said Beatham-Garcia.

During the trials, team members have roles as witnesses and attorneys. Attorneys work with their witnesses to develop direct examinations, and cross-examinations. Attorneys are also responsible for opening and closing statements as well as preparing to argue objections. Witnesses are responsible for knowing their respective affidavits and for working with their attorneys to develop a character.

Prosecution team competes in Columbus, shown in group photo.

Prosecution team competes in Columbus.

Students who competed in Columbus as part of the the 2019-2020 Mock Trial team include:

  • Nick Arno, a first year student studying English Pre-Law
  • Micaela Beatham-Garcia, a sophomore Political Science Pre-Law and Global Studies student with a minor in German
  • Nick Bohuslawsky, a first-year student studying Political Science Pre-Law
  • Diamond Brooks, a sophomore studying HTC Political Science
  • Andrew Cornelison, a freshman Political Science Pre-Law student
  • Abigail Downs, a freshman Political Science student
  • Michael Ferris, a second year student studying Communication and World Religions
  • David Giddens, a junior studying Political Science Pre-Law and Anthropology
  • Hailey Gifford, a freshman studying Political Science Pre-Law and Spanish
  • Ellen Gill, a second year student studying English Pre-Law and Sociology-Criminology with a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture
  • Ali Gucwa, a second year student majoring in Environmental Geography Pre-Law and Urban Planning
  • Sydney Roberts Kempton, a senior Political Science Pre-Law and History student
  • Kristin Tate, a senior double majoring in Political Science and Sociology-Criminology, with a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture
  • Lori Turner, a third-year student majoring in Political Science Pre-Law
  • Jonas Lincoln Schaaf, a freshman studying Political Science Pre-Law
  • Lydia Wendel, a senior majoring in Political Science Pre-Law with a minor in Anthropology and a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture

The team is coached by Center for Law Justice & Culture Pre-Law Specialist Larry Hayman. Tryouts for the 2020-2021 school year will occur in Fall 2020, and interested students should sign up for the CLJC Newsletter by emailing Hayman at hayman@ohio.edu

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