Mock_Trial_Primer_416 - Mock Trial Primer for Employee...

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Unformatted text preview: Mock Trial Primer for Employee Benefits & Services Overview Mock trials simulate trials conducted in our federal and state courts. In our class, although most of the issues to be tried concern statutes or appellate rulings, the focus in on the greater impact on society of the health and retirement issues presented. Legal jargon and the intricacies of real trials are replaced with simple, straightforward procedures that allow students to focus on the issues. The Mock Trial allows participants to see the forest for the trees. Each team will be assigned to try one case. One team will represent the Petitioner while another represents the Respondent. Petitioner answers the issues posed “yes” while Respondent answers the issue “no.” The other two teams will then jointly serve as jurors in another trial. Overview Each team will be assigned to a side in one trial. In order to develop your arguments and identify witnesses to support your position research on databases such as ABI/INFORM and Business Source Premier, among others, is mandatory. See the Library Database link on Course Documents for additional resources. You will not go it alone. I will work with you to help your team prepare. Everyone who gives his or her best effort wins. Although real trials are highly competitive, Mock trials are not. They are designed to educate you on an important topic while having fun. Trial Structure The nine person jury is seated [selected by the Professor]. Before doing so, they will elect one member to serve as the foreperson. The Bailiff asks everyone to stand. He or she then begins the trial by introducing the judge. The judge identifies the name of the case and then asks counsel for each side to identify themselves. Petitioner’s counsel gives an opening statement. Opening statements inform the jury of the nature of the case and the evidence that side intends to submit. Argument is to be avoided. [5 minute maximum] Trial Structure Opening statement by counsel for the Respondent [5 minute maximum] Petitioner then calls its first witness. (Each side will have a maximum of two witnesses.) Direct examination allows witnesses to describe what they know based on their personal knowledge or expertise. [5 minute maximum] After direct examination of a witness, the Respondent will have the opportunity to conduct cross-examination using leading questions [5 minute maximum] Trial Structure Once both of Petitioner’s witnesses have finished, Respondent’s counsel has the opportunity to present his, her or its two witnesses. Witnesses will be examined in the same format and under the same time limits. Counsel can object to the questions posed by counsel for the other side. Three principle objections: Argumentative (intimidating the witness) Lacks foundation (witness is testifying to something he or she could not possibly know) Calls for an opinion (only expert witnesses can testify to opinions) Trial Structure Counsel for the Petitioner provides a Closing argument. Closing arguments are designed to get the jury to focus on the facts most helpful to your case or defense while arousing sympathy for your position [5 minute maximum] Counsel for the Respondent offers its Closing statement in the same manner and subject to the same time limit. The other side cannot interrupt a Closing statement even if the other side distorts the facts or law. The jury will decide who should win. Trial Structure The jury deliberates the case in a fishbowl format (i.e., the rest of the class can listen but cannot interrupt). All jury members are allowed to take notes. Every member is expected to contribute to the discussion and speak up so that everyone can hear them. Everyone will serve as a juror in a case. During the trial counsel can ask for brief recesses to confer outside of the jury’s presence. Structure When the foreperson thinks the discussion is over, he or she distributes a jury verdict form that the judge will provide. The jurors will silently mark their vote on the verdict and give it to the foreperson. Verdicts only need six votes. If the voting is even, a hung jury is declared. The judge will ask the foreperson if the jury has reached a verdict and if it has will ask the foreperson to read the verdict. The rest of the class will be invited to comment, ask questions and generally discuss the trial. Organization Tips Two people will play the witnesses while the other three people will serve as the attorneys who ask them questions and deliver statements to the jury. Each attorney can cross-examine one of the other side’s witnesses. Everyone must have a speaking role. Witnesses will be asked by the Bailiff to affirm that their testify will be truthful. After being seated they must answer the questions put to them. Evasive or delayed answers detract from your credibility. One person will give the Closing statement. While it is expected that the person who gave the Opening will perform this task, it can be any of the attorneys from the team (i.e., no witnesses). Organization Tips Be professional. If you are acting as counsel dress in business attire and prepare your case. Most importantly, treat everyone in a respectful manner. Be authentic. If you are a witness, act as you would expect that person would act. The more realistic the witnesses, the more realistic the trial. Enjoy yourself. The Mock Trial is meant to allow people to have fun Development Goals Gain confidence to speak in front of people Become able to present an argument persuasively Structure your thoughts (i.e., to introduce, develop and summarize your points) Gain a deeper knowledge of the health and retirement issues and their impact on society Develop respect for yourself and others ...
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  • Spring '15
  • KevinFarmer
  • attorney, trial structure

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