Mock trial team awarded trophy

January 21, 2014

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Mock Trial Team

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville mock trial team was awarded a “2013 Rookies of the Year” trophy at a mock trial scrimmage held at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

The mock trial scrimmage, sponsored by Loras College, included two teams from Loras College and one team from UW-Platteville. The competition was designed to give undergraduate students experience in evidence, trial advocacy and criminal procedure.

“At the end of the competition, the judges were very complimentary to us,” said Dr. John Rink, professor of political science at UW-Platteville and the team’s coach. “They were even more amazed when we revealed that this was the first time any member of our team had ever competed in mock trial at all. I was given a small trophy with the suggestion that I give it to our ‘most valuable player.’ Since everyone on our team was equal, I decided to make it a team award and call it ‘2013 Rookies of the Year.’ It was very appropriate.”

The case that challenged the mock trial teams involved an armed robbery at an amusement park with a defendant who had been charged with being an accomplice to the robbery. “Mock trial coaches all around the country are saying that this is the most complicated case they’ve seen,” said Rink. “Some of these coaches go back 25 years.”

In the competition, each student served as an attorney and as a witness for the case. All students had the opportunity to complete a direct examination of their own witnesses as well as a cross examination of the other team’s witnesses.

Experienced trial attorneys from the Dubuque area heard and judged the students’ presentations of the case.

The Pioneer mock trial team included UW-Platteville students Lakisha Clinton, a senior political science major from Milwaukee, Wis.; Cassandra Thomas, a freshman criminal justice major from Oconto Falls, Wis.; Samantha M. Frey, a sophomore political science and criminal justice major from Beloit, Wis.; Joshua T. Meyer, a junior political science and international studies major from Racine, Wis.; and Evan Seibel, a junior with a political science and criminal justice major from Fond du Lac, Wis. Two other team members, Emily Bobke, a sophomore criminal justice major from New Berlin, Wis., and Evan C. Anderson, a junior political science major from Onalaska, Wis., were unable to attend the competition due to illness.

“Mock trial competitions provide students with hands-on experience in trial procedure, the rules of evidence and the planning of trial strategy,” said Rink. “The competition with Loras College was our team’s first opportunity to present a case against another school in front of experienced trial judges. I was very proud of the way the students performed for the first time under pressure.”

The Pioneer mock trial team members also presented the case during their final exam period on Dec. 17. They will be preparing for the National Invitational Tournament at Loras College in late January and the American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., in February.

Contact: Dr. John Rink, department of social sciences, (608) 342-1795, rink@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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