First-time contestants win prizes in a mock in-person trial tournament

With just five short weeks of preparation, the Ohio University mock trial team entered the Ohio State University Scarlet and Gray Mock Trial tournament in October, with two new contestants taking home prizes.

The tournament was held in person, the OHIO’s first in-person tournament since February 2020.

OHIO Mock Trial has two teams, and they participated in four different trials. Each side of the case, prosecution and defense, played once over the two days, with witnesses often appearing in both trials.

During the closing ceremony, Ohio University students Leighton Heiner and Megan Taylor received outstanding witness awards based on the rankings of the trial judges. The two are contestants for the first time in the mock trial.

Taylor was awarded for her witness portrayal as a defense witness and was shocked when she heard her name called.

“It was so much fun being a part of this team and working with my two amazing lawyers. We worked really hard and put a lot of detail in my witnesses – and it paid off. It was even more incredible to win a witness prize in my very first competition. I am so grateful to my entire team and so proud of our performance, ”she said.

Taylor is in her second year majoring in pre-law history with a minor in Spanish at the College of Arts and Sciences. Heiner is a first year student majoring in philosophy. Both students were recently accepted into the highly competitive Undergraduate Certificate in Law, Justice and Culture.

“A satisfactory return to the true parameters of the courtroom”

“Participating in the annual OSU tournament provided a unique opportunity to test our legal and logical reasoning skills against some of the best teams in the country, as well as a satisfying return to the actual courtroom settings that help us to. learn a lot about the legal field through this activity, ”said Colin Schilf, Mock trial treasurer and second year competitor.

Six students pose for a photo in the courtroom
Seated, left to right: Nick Bohuslawsky, Ellen Gill-Franks, Michael Ferris. Standing, left to right: Megan Taylor, Riley Sargent, Casey Patterson.

“As someone who has been tasked with helping develop the new talent in our program this year, I especially appreciate that Scarlet and Gray provided a stage for our team to demonstrate how much their understanding of the business is. ‘has been developing since the start of the season, “said Schilf. .

Schilf is a junior HTC chemistry student and was recently accepted into the Certificate in Law, Justice and Culture.

The trials were held at the Franklin County Courthouse with individual judges graciously allowing contestants to use their courtrooms. Courtrooms were fitted with barriers surrounding the judge’s bench, jury and witness boxes, and lawyers’ tables, creating a new environment in which students can adapt during their case presentations.

“While the COVID-19 precautions limited the mobility of lawyers during questioning and changed the way we could all interact with evidence, I was so impressed with the flexibility of all of the contestants. On the contrary, everyone was so much more intentional with their movements and voice fluctuations because of the masks and shields. I am so proud of my teammates who took on these challenges and used them to their advantage, ”said Ellen Gill-Franks, an English pre-law and sociology-criminology student with certificates in law, justice and culture and strategic leadership.

The Scarlet and Gray tournament was the first of many invitational tournaments the Ohio University Mock Trial will participate in to prepare for the regional tournament in late February.

A group of students pose for a photo in the courtroom
Seated, from left to right: Ali Gucwa, Micaela Beatham-Garcia, Diamond Brooks. Standing, left to right: Liz Vinel, Megan Taylor, Riley Sargent, Casey Patterson.

Preparation for the competition, with the alumni judges

Ohio University Mock Trial consists of two teams, the Green Team and the White Team, each consisting of 10 students. Each student had to try for the team. The organization offers students interested in law the valuable experience of working with and preparing a case in a competitive courtroom.

The teams are required to prepare the file provided to them by the American Mock Trial Association. This year, more than 600 teams from 350 colleges and universities across the United States will compete in AMTA tournaments. Each team member is assigned a part as a lawyer or witness. Lawyers are required to develop case theory, as well as develop direct and cross-examination questions, create opening statements and closing arguments, as well as learn case law and the rules of evidence. Witnesses are responsible for creating a character out of the case and working with their lawyer to develop their character and testimony.

The team is coached by Larry Hayman, Esq., Deputy Director and Pre-Legal Advisor at the Center for Law, Justice and Culture at the College of Arts and Sciences and ACE.

In order to prepare for the Scarlet and Gray Invitational, the two teams met on October 21 at Bentley Hall. This melee was tried by Ohio University alumni attorney Patrick McGee and Daniela Grijalva, a master’s student in law, justice and culture, who received a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies – Latin America in 2021. Both judges provided key insight and criticism for teams to consider before competing. .

“It was incredibly useful to have the opportunity to present my documents in front of a lawyer before competing in the Scarlet and Gray Invitational. It was great to get input from an experienced lawyer who has tried hundreds of cases.” HTC’s political science student Diamond Brooks said, stressing the importance of getting McGee’s feedback.

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