UNH Mock Trial Team Attends Regional Tournament

Liana Teixeira

During the weekend of February 12 and 13, nine members of the University of New Haven’s Mock Trial team attended the

The team consisted of junior Melissa Norman (Captain), sophomore Victoria Ford, freshmen Gregory Bode, Victoria Gregory, Krystal Lopez, Emily Malara, Nicolle Paulo, Liana Teixeira, and Rebecca Thielen. Junior Danielle Palladino was unable to attend the tournament but was, nevertheless, an important asset to the team.

Mock Trial Regional Tournament held at Yale University.

The team consisted of junior Melissa Norman (Captain), sophomore Victoria Ford, freshmen Gregory Bode, Victoria Gregory, Krystal Lopez, Emily Malara, Nicolle Paulo, Liana Teixeira, and Rebecca Thielen. Junior Danielle Palladino was unable to attend the tournament but was, nevertheless, an important asset to the team. New Haven defense lawyer Walter Bansley IV and faculty advisor Tim Geisler have coached the team since August and also accompanied them to the New Haven tournament. Twenty-seven teams from around the region were registered for the annual event, including Yale, Princeton, Stonybrook, Iona, Brown, and UCONN.

For six long months, these schools studied and memorized the fictional civil case of Davis v. Happyland Toy Company. The case involved the plaintiff Andy Davis suing CEO Blake Lexington’s Happyland Toy Company because of the product called Princess Beads. According to Andy, his two-year-old son Joey died after ingesting the beads, which metabolized into the chemical GHB when consumed. This was a controversial topic indeed; both plaintiff and defense had strong and factual arguments, which made the competition that much more exciting.

During round one, UNH played the role of plaintiff and went against Princeton University. Because of an uneven number of teams, round two found UNH against a bye- buster team. For those who are not familiar with this term, a bye-buster team consists of volunteer members from a variety of schools who come together and form a team in the event that an uneven number of teams are competing. The UNH team played defense during its third competition against Providence College. At the same time, team member Liana Teixeira participated in a bye-buster team against Queensborough Community College. The UNH team encountered Queensborough once again during the fourth and final round.

Unfortunately, the UNH Mock Trial team was unable to secure a top eight spot within the competition. Winners advanced to the second round of competition hosted in White Plains, New York in March. But although no trophy accompanied the UNH students back to campus, the true reward was better left unseen.

“Mock Trial isn’t just a team, it’s a family,” said captain Melissa Norman, “You become so close with your teammates that you walk out of the season not only learning so much about law, trial, and public speaking, but learning so much about each other and most importantly yourself.”

For half a year, the team worked tirelessly to perfect their courtroom skills and etiquette, memorized their roles as witnesses and lawyers, and also learned valuable public speaking and leadership skills. The opportunity to show off their hard work and dedication was an award in itself.

The Mock Trial team anxiously awaits fall 2011 when a new case becomes available for schools, and most, if not all, members plan on returning next year. Mock Trial is an experience that can only be described as unique. No matter what your major, Mock Trial has fostered a home for a variety of groups and no experience is required. Whether you’re majoring in Legal Studies or Criminal Justice, enjoy learning about law, or simply love to argue, Mock trial caters to many interests and, most importantly, builds teamwork and friendships.

“Mock Trial [is] truly a learning experience for each member,” Norman continued, “We can only move forward from this point on. Next year’s case will be a Criminal case. I’m excited to see what is to come next!”

Those interested in learning more about Mock Trial are more than welcome to enroll in Walt Bansley’s Mock Trial course offered during each fall semester at the University of New Haven. If anyone has any questions or is interested in joining the UNH Mock Trial Team, please contact Melissa Norman at [email protected]