The Holy Cross Mock Trial team is off and running with three competitions under its belt in the fall semester. After a fourth place season opener at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the team took first at fellow Patriot League school Colgate University. Most recently, the team competed in a competition at American University.
“Mock Trial is a wonderful, unique opportunity to challenge and improve the process of logical thinking, persuasive argument and public speaking,” said team coach James Healy ’81. “It combines all elements of the mission of a liberal arts education, in which all aspects of learning and communicating are combined.”
“We tell students at the outset of the season that even if you don’t intend to go into the field of law, you will at several junctures in your career be called upon to make presentations to a supervisor or decision maker, and mock trial prepares students for these real world experiences,” adds team coach Ed McDermott ’79. “It is really a unique undergraduate opportunity.”
Each year, the American Mock Trial Association releases a case that is tried by over 1,000 college and university trial teams. The cases alternate each year between criminal and civil law. Students spend the fall developing their advocacy skills while learning the rules of evidence used by lawyers during litigation. They also learn to work as a trial team developing case theories that will lead to presenting a winning argument.
This year’s case problem is a criminal case involving a theft and a ticket scam scheme at an amusement park. According to the indictment in the case materials, the state is charging a former employee at the park with two crimes: theft using force or the threat of force; and theft by deception in the ticket scheme. To win their case, the state has the evidentiary burden of a criminal prosecution – to prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The winning team at the Colgate competition was captained by Julian Goding ’14, who won an outstanding attorney award, his second this season. Fellow teammates Emily Cross ’15 and Jennifer Vera ’16, attorneys for this case, also earned the outstanding attorney award, and witnesses Barry Quinn ’16 and Jonathan Formichella ’15 were honored as outstanding witnesses.
In the WONK Trial Invitational at American University, the team did not place in the top five but did finish with a 4-4 record. Cross earned her second outstanding attorney award this season at the invitational as well. The Holy Cross team competed against dozens of colleges from across the country.
The next competition for the team will be the Commonwealth Classic Invitational hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Jan. 25-26.