Trinity’s first-ever mock trial competition was a success in more ways than one: By all accounts, the event came off without a hitch and Trinity’s B team did themselves proud, finishing on the heels of the University of Massachusetts’ A team. Bryant University came in third.
Trinity’s A team did not compete in the Nov. 23-24 tournament, the first hosted by Trinity, but it is registered for the Yale Invitational on December 7. Both the A and B teams are scheduled to compete in the UMass Invitational in late January, the final preseason event before the official competition, run by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA), gets underway in February at Boston College.
“The tournament was very well thought out and executed,” said Youlan Xiu ’15, vice president of Trinity’s Mock Trial Association and Assistant Tournament Director. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of the Student Activities Office and our faculty adviser, Renny Fulco.” Fulco is director of the Public Policy and Law Program.
Although the Trinity teams don’t have a coach, they’ve been practicing regularly since the fall semester began. The AMTA gave the facts of the criminal case to the participating schools – about 600 in all – last summer. The case involves an armed robbery at a fictional amusement park, RacheterWorld, and, although the suspect remains at large, an alleged accomplice, who is a park employee, has been arrested. During the robbery, a park attendee was badly injured. The district’s attorney’s office says the investigation is ongoing, and that criminal charges will be forthcoming.
That case is the one that has been argued during the preseason tournaments and will continue to be argued throughout the AMTA tournament.
In addition to the B team finishing in second place, with a 6-1-1 record, strong performances were turned in by Katherine Feehan ’16, and Sonjay Singh ’15, as defense and prosecution attorneys, respectively, and by Julia Mardeusz '16, and Richard Pizzano ’17, who were honored for their work as witnesses for the prosecution and defense, respectively. During the competition, each of the team members plays one or more roles.
Other members of the B team are Sebastien Broustra ’17, Ethan Cantor ’16, James Geisler ’14, (president of Trinity’s Mock Trial Association), Sam Hines ’16, Tanya Kewalramani ’15, Karla Mardueno '15, Andrew Miller ’17, and Ursula Petersen ’15. Although the B team is larger than the A team, it’s possible for students to move up, depending on the quality of their performance.
“A lot of the time B teams are considered competitors who didn’t make the A team,” said Xiu. “But in our case, this is the youngest, brightest and most accomplished B team that we’ve ever had.”
However, Trinity doesn’t have a long history of participating in the AMTA tournament. The College chapter was founded in 2007 by students Zachary Green ’11, and Michael Galligan ‘11. Green, who is a third year law student at Fordham University, returned to serve as a judge. Other judges – whom Xiu characterized as “excellent” -- were Trinity graduates who are associated with the legal profession.
In addition to Trinity, UMass and Bryant, the other schools that participated in the Trinvitational were Southern Connecticut University, the University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University and Williams College. UMass entered two teams.
The Spirit of the AMTA Award, which is awarded to the team that best exemplifies the ideals of honesty, civility and fair play went to Wesleyan, with Williams getting an honorable mention.
Besides Xiu, other Trinity students who staffed the tournament were Bobby Boyle ’16, Geisler, Jhon Pacheco ’14, and Jeff Pruyne ’15.
The AMTA was founded in 1985 by Richard Calkins, dean of the Drake Law School. AMTA serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition. Through engaging in trial simulations in competition with teams from other institutions, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as knowledge of legal practices and procedures. AMTA sponsors regional and national-level competitions, as well as providing interesting and complex case materials for academic use.
Each season, AMTA hosts 24 regional tournaments, eight opening-round championship tournaments and a national championship tournament. Approximately 600 teams from more than 350 universities and colleges are expected to compete. The nationals will be held in Orlando, FL in April.
To see photos of the First Trinity College Mock Trial Trinvitational, please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35784190@N07/sets/72157638060260794/.
Photos are by John Atashian.
To read about the AMTA and its Mock Trial competition, please visit: http://www.collegemocktrial.org/.
Photo: Pictured on the home page is Tanya Kewalramani ’15.