Individual awards for outstanding attorney and outstanding witness went to Ian Heath, sophomore, theatre and legal studies major from St. Louis, Mo. Heath earned the outstanding witness award for his work as Dr. Loren Charney, a forensic entomologist, who was hired by the defense to give an opinion on the time of death of the victim. Heath also participated on the prosecution team, delivering the opening statement and examining a prosecution witness, which earned him the outstanding attorney award.
“The competition was both really fun; and, although nerve-wracking at first, very rewarding. We did amazing as a team, and I think that we are much more prepared for the tournament coming up in November. I was really honored to receive the rewards, a bit taken aback and surprised, but truly thankful. It was thrilling to be in the court, whether it was as an attorney or as a witness, and it really is an experience that I hope more people at Culver-Stockton get to participate in,” said Heath.
“I am very proud of the job our team did in their first tournament,” added Judy Abbott, senior lecturer in criminal justice and legal studies. “They lost one ballot by one point, which was a heart breaker. The other round they lost against Quincy University, who went on to tie for first place in the tournament, so our kids had some stiff competition,”
In spring of 2009, Culver-Stockton College started a mock trial team and joined the American Mock Trial Association in order to compete during the 2009-10 season on the regional and national stage. As a first step in April 2009, the mock trial team performed a mock trial on campus that was well-attended and received by the C-SC campus and faculty.
Culver-Stockton has shown its support for the program by constructing a courtroom in the basement of Johann Library. This room will serve as the classroom for the trial advocacy class and will serve as an authentic venue for our team members’ practice rounds.
This year’s AMTA mock trial case involves three men who formed a movie studio. Two of the partners are accused of murdering the third partner. C-SC students serve as attorneys as well as witnesses in both the prosecution and the defense case.
Mock trial is an invaluable experience for students to learn how to think critically while on their feet answering objections and judges’ questions. Teamwork, collective thinking and courtroom performance are all important objectives learned through taking part in mock trials.
“I watch students every semester make huge strides in their presentation skills after competing in mock trial. I see their confidence levels increase 100 fold and leaders born out of stiff competition. There is nothing like two semesters of mock trial competition to make you understand that your horizons are broader than you ever could imagine,” Abbott added.
The C-SC mock trial team will compete again November 13 – 15, at the Illinois State University tournament. This tournament will take place at the McLean County Courthouse, where more than 30 teams from all over the Midwest will participate.
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