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Mock Trial Team Has Their Best Season to Date

The Charger Bulletin

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The University of New Haven’s Mock Trial team competed at the 2014 New Haven Regional last weekend and came out with their best season yet, winning four rounds of competition out of a possible eight and bringing home an Outstanding Attorney Award.

Photo by Nelson Dillaway

Photo by Nelson Dillaway

The UNH Mock Trial team is a member of the American Mock Trial Association, which creates and distributes a yearly case for all registered colleges and universities. Preparing for the regional tournament is a year-long experience for teams and takes a great deal of dedication and practice. Each round of competition involves two teams performing a trial simulation consisting of opening and closing statements, direct and cross examinations, rebuttals and presenting evidence. In addition, lawyers were tasked with arguing objections and witnesses had to learn their roles through affidavits.

“The work that goes into being ready for regionals is more than any class I’ve ever taken,” said team member Emily McGinty. “Everyone on the team puts hours upon hours in learning the laws, their parts and finding a groove to be like a well-oiled machine.”

In August 2013, Captain Liana Teixeira said, the UNH Mock Trial team was already hard at work learning their new case for the season, State of Midlands v. Whit Bowman, a criminal case regarding a robbery at the Racheterworld Amusement Park in the fictional state of Midlands. On Aug. 30, 2012, Cameron Poole robbed the park’s accountant, Haley Floyd, at knifepoint and escaped with thousands of dollars. The security guard, Winston Thomas, ran after Poole into the Tunnel of Terror ride where the defendant Whit Bowman was working. When Thomas and Poole ran into the ride, the lights suddenly went out; Poole was able to escape through a back exit, but Thomas fell, hit his head and has been in a coma for an entire year. The state charged Bowman with first degree robbery and theft by deception, claiming he conspired with Poole to commit the robbery, as well as run a scheme in the park earlier that summer.

“It’s definitely not an easy case to prove or defend,” said Teixeira. “There are holes in each and every aspect of this case, and it’s our job to fill in the gaps for the judges. This year’s case in particular required us to think outside the box, which essentially made us act more creatively.”

After weeks of practicing, the team was invited to compete at its first out-of-state invitational tournament at Colgate University in New York. There, McGinty received a top witness award. Later in the season, the team scrimmaged Southern Connecticut State University and Queensborough Community College to ready themselves for the regional tournament, winning several rounds of competition in the process.

The annual New Haven Regional tournament at Yale University occurred on Feb. 8 and 9, and the team consisted of Teixeira, McGinty, Nelson Dillaway, Dallas Newcomb, Dawn Marciano, Elle Cantelmo, Dan Davies, Victoria Heifferon, Jennifer Tremblay and Erin Murphy. The team competed against both Fordham University at Lincoln Center schools, Quinnipiac and Vassar. UNH reigned supreme against Quinnipiac and Vassar, resulting in a final score of four wins and four losses. While this was not enough to advance UNH to the next level, it is the best the team has ever done at regional competition since its inception.

“I’ve been on the UNH Mock Trial team for four years, and our performance at regionals was the best yet. With a committed team and a great leader, anything is possible,” McGinty said. “This year, we may not have moved on, but I don’t think I could have expected anymore from any person on the team.”

“To others, it may look like we lost by a landslide, but if you understand how the scoring works, it truly shows how much we’ve improved over the years,” said Teixeira. “When I was a freshman, we could barely win a single round. Now, we’re winning just as much as schools like Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.”

Teixeira, now a senior, got even better news as the last day of competition came to a close. Teixeira won an All-Region Outstanding Attorney Award with a perfect score of 20 ranks on the defense, beating out all other attorneys from the 24 schools in attendance, including Yale, Columbia and Quinnipiac.

For Teixeira, this award could not have come at a better time. “This is my senior year and my last year doing mock trial. I never thought I would end up winning a personal award, let alone get a perfect score. I’m extremely proud of how hard the team has worked throughout the years and they will certainly continue to succeed,” she said.

This was Teixeira’s first personal award, and the second personal award for the UNH team following McGinty’s Outstanding Attorney win the previous season with 18 ranks.

The team is coached by Thomas Geisler and Walter Bansley IV, with additional assistance from Donna Morris of the Legal Studies Department.

Membership on the UNH Mock Trial Team is open to all students, regardless of major.

If anyone is interested in participating in the 2015 season, email NewHavenMockTrial@gmail.com for more information.

 

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Mock Trial Team Has Their Best Season to Date