Thursday, March 22, 2018

Junior Division Winners Announced

Last evening, Lakeridge JHS and Utah County JHS paired off for the Mock Trial Final Round of Competition. Utah County JHS wins with a 3-0 ballot to become the 2018 Mock Trial Jr. Division Champions. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Competition Dates

Our competitions will be on
Friday, February 23  from 9:00 to 11:30 am at West Valley Justice Court


Monday, February 26  from 1:00 to 3:30 pm at The United States District Court of Utah

Round of 16 Eliminations are Wednesday, March 7  from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.Qtr Finals  are Tuesday, March 13  from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.Semi-Finals -- Single Elimination Friday, March 16 1:00 - 3:00

-- so a quick turn-around.

I will post here the play-offs, too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2018 Case

Civil Suit:
Justin Hall, a minor child and the only son of Jesse Hall, sustained serious injuries on June 29, 2017, while attended the ForensiTech forensic science camp at Morgan University in Morgan, Utah.  . . . Justin fell down a mountain . . . sustained a spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia and a serious concussion leading to long-term impairment.

The lawsuit is against ForensiTech, Inc.

Introduction of Case by Judge Chinn
students relate to case

How the parent is portrayed will make a big difference.
at time of discovery -- a minor
discovery of diabetes -- after application
exhibits 1-3-4-9 do not require same   Stipulation 2b --
must prove duty, breach, causation, damage 

bifurcated -- monetary separated

attorneys -- ability to be concise and to articulate in your opening how approach summary of what witnesses will testify about and identify the critical witness the court should pay attention to.

who is the critical witness for the plaintiff -- not necessarily the expert
the expert provides critical info, but

not an ordinary negligence case -- must be gross negligence

page 70 -- elements of Gross negligence
falling short of duty of care--  must articulate

defense is comparative negligence -- does not rise to the claim of gross negligence

Parent release -- stipulation -- release effective against ordinary negligence, not gross negligence -- must point that out briefly in opening
how they perceive their approach to claim

Stipulation #3-- can hint at damage later  two-phase trial   (may affect scores)
mention bifurcated trial -- we are not going to talk about damages but we will prove  
we're not going to go into a monetary amount -- will be for a later date for this court to decide 
-- showing that you understand the nature of the trial

Note the defendant

excessive negligence

must believe the position you take

must be able to address 2. Minors, page 71 -- 

ordinarily a 14 year old does not make these types of decisions

It is rebuttable -- a 16 year old is not going to call  forseeable and say "I have type  diabetes, so you'll need to have snacks for me."
so cannot be held to an adult standard

Must articulate the standard, the burden of proof  
preponderance -- briefly mention what it means to have this standard  -- in opening mention

by the end of the day's trial, we sill have proven that
don't argue it in opening statement
by the end of the trial we will establish by preponderace

Affidavit --
(a lot of roughage)
move into the meat of the manner

can use roughage to develop character   -- convincing character


Jesse Hall -- Parent  -- must convince you about
standard 14 year old
parent knows the minor
suing on behalf of the minor
acting in full consideration of everything he knows about the minor

Paragraph 2 --
(witnesses -- not verbatim)  avoid exact language  --
mature, but getting out of paying for a nanny, calling every evening

Justin's Friend  --

Expert --

When talking about moving Justin -- guide's training -- were they as careful as they should have been?
Did they do anymore damage then? 

Both experts got paid money -- not critical

comparative negligence
Justin to blame for his own diabetes emergency and fall/injury

Critical witness for defense -- counselor

Kyle Kaiser
New Rules of Evidence

formatted to look more like Utah and federal rules of evidence

separated rules and guidance -- How to  -- in an appendix  (do not cite to a judge --)
Do not have to refer to objections by number
Judicial notice -- wouldn't usually use judicial notice -- on January 2 at 2 in the morning, the sun isn't up -- could ask court to take judicial notice, but prob. not

Privilege -- most likely won't come out

Important stuff:

Hearsay -- drastically changes -- still really hard
an out of court statement offered to prove the truth of the statement
does not matter if in court or not

exemptions -- affidavit
statement by opposing party, admission by party opponent
someone who is party to the case, offered against them, 801D -- not hearsay

parent of minor child
stip 1C  -- can't testify  -- not a party opponent must come in under hearsay objections because the parents are bringing the lawsuit

more exceptions now
purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment
records of regularly conducted business activities
judgments of previous conviction

declarant unavailable
dying declaration

Lay Witness and Expert Opinions
lay witnesses opinion not relevant
if based on rational perception, helpful to factfinder  --  fun to fight about (drunk, speeding)?
Expert -- tender this witness in the area of  -- gone now 
no one tenders in court anymore

What you do is to lay the foundations, then just ask the expert the expert opinion questions?
Other team can still object that expert isn't qualified -- after expert opinion question

Can put resume in as evidence --

Invention of Fact 
in rules of evidence -- can point out to judge
creation of a material fact 
 -- not in the affidavit --  and likely to affect the outcome of the trial
Cross -- if asked about a fact not in the statement -- -- may answer consistent with their statement even if not in it (Don't say, not in my statement.  can if it is material. better to say I don't know.)
Attorney -- object under invention of fact fule -- asking for a fact not in this witness's statement which would materially affect the case

Can impeach and refresh witnesses recollection
Can't (shouldn't)  impeach on immaterial -- could for material fact

Character Evidence (really hard!)
cannot use a character trait to prove that the person acted in conformity with this trait
cannot use a prior act to prove conformity with that prior action

exception -- if convicted of crime
particular type of lock pick -- found also in this case --

Exclusion for Prejudice, confusion, waste of time   -- 403 (known by number)  
cumulative questions, compound questions
when a piece of evidence is relevant, but so unfairly prejudicial to
probative value outweighed by risk of being unfairly prejudicial -- not sustained very often

convicted of crime -- not related to the current issue -- prejudicial


Appendix -- Guidance
How to object

*   Beyond the scope -- not allowed in cross -- cross-examining attorney -- has access to full scope

assumes facts not in evidence
After -- when did you start -- no evidence that ... happened

arguing facts not in evidence -- closing -- can object -- Your honor --at end of argument  facts in closing argument not in the case -- argued in closing -- not established in the case


Etiquette -- proper behavior in the courtroom at all times.
score on Instagram -- have to identify your school/team

Attorney Coach -- 2 CLE credits for attending meeting and coaching the team

marking on the exhibit -- not allowed -- changed fact in case materials -- no laser pointer
"the demonstrative"
no pointer sticks -- no prop -- no magic marker
size --
up to 24 x 36
can place the exhibit stickers --
can use the numbers that exist
if you want an easel, bring it


Mrs. Dyatt

Code of Ethics Roster -- turned in at first trial
Can designate a parent -- prior to the students coming in. . .
Roster for Virginia
scratch or legal yellow pads, pens

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Objections Practice

Red Flag Words

Think   Feel   Believe    = opinion

Hear    Said    Tell           = hearsay

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mock Trial Witness Workshop "Strategies"

 How to be a witness 

Develop a character and always stay in character.
General guidelines in court procedures
Specific rules for witnesses

Develop Your Character    "Think in Character"
When you receive your case booklet

Read your witness statement

Before you can portray a character

(Hand out random witness statements) 

You need to think in character   "Think in Character"
Write a short biography & include. . .
Where were you born?
How old are you?
When is your birthday?
Where do you live/address?
Do you have a job?
Who are your friends?
What are your sports/hobbies?
What's your favorite thing to do?

"Think in Character"

As you write your biography. . .
You begin to think in 3 dimensions
You start thinking as a real person

Spock/Leonard Nimoy:  The more I cloaked myself in the character, the more comfortable I became.

"Think in Character"

Make a list of your likes (5)

Leonard Nimoy -- as he stayed in character more and more, he became the Spock character.   He used his own background and emotions to build the character on.

Make a list of your 5 dislikes (5)

"Think in Character"
Categorize your character

"If I were a movie, what would I be?
"If I were a book, what would I be?"
"If I were a car, what would I be?"
"If I were a pet, what would I be?'
"If I were a song, what would I be?"
"If I were an insect, what would I be?"

 Do you see how this can help? 

  • As your imagination fills in the grey areas. .  A personality will emerge.
  • Next, talk about yourself out loud.  Tell your parents and friends who you are.  Have your friends ask you questions.
  • (Example:   witness named Luna Phoenix -- judge asked her about her unusual name -- she told him her parents' names and that they were flower children -- products of the sixties. 
  • Can pick a person to imitate.  
  • Talking allows you to continue to develop your character.  
  • Present your character in a realistic manner during trial.

 Courtroom Basics 

  • Dress appropriately
  • Sit together in court, sit in order of appearance -- (arrange so you are not climbing over each other to get out)
  • Stand, then introduce yourselves  -- 
  •     Good evening/afternoon/morning, your Honors.  I am (first name, last name, spell last name if it is unclear.  I am the prosecution/defense witness (character name).  
  • Bailiff/Clerk 

 Courtroom Basics
  • When sworn in speak clearly and state "Yes, I do."  
  • Bailiff checks with judge as to how witnesses will be sworn in. 
  • When asked to spell your name "Your honor, I am _________________. . . . "
  • Sit up straight. . . do not rock or swivel.
  • Listen carefully to the questions. . . make sure you understand what was asked. 
  • Answers questions with a yes or not.  (CROSS?)  
  • Witnesses work with your attorneys -- those who will direct and those who will cross. 

 Courtroom Basics  
  • Explanatory answers, look at the judge (so they can see the whites of your eyes) 
    • (yes/no answers at attorney)
  • Always answer the judge with "Yes, Your Honor"  . . . or "No, Your Honor."  
  • Don't panic. . . . 
  • Always stay in character -- never let them see you sweat.
    • I am Spock and Spock is me. 

 Courtroom Basics  Witness #1 Example 

People vs. Markson  --   about 54
confident, quick to respond , competent --  a police officer will tend to keep his answers short and two the point.  (Look at the judge on the bench when giving a narrative.  We watched to 56:41. 

 Courtroom Basics 

During Direct. .. 
know the questions your attorney will be asking
practice with your attorney
appear confident and trustworthy
Be sure your testimony is consistent with your witness statement 

 Courtroom Basics 

If a map or something else that requires you to stand
map (evidence poster) make sure you do not block it from the judge(s) 
No markers -- 
No pointers  -- finger only 
     If the attorney asks permission for you to approach the map/evidence poster. . . . 
Don't block the vision
If asked "do you recognize?"  
Follow the attorney's instruction 

 Courtroom Basics  example    

Expert witness
clarified answers in cross 
calm, collected, professional 
at poster, looked at it first, did not block it, pointing to exactly where you need to post

about 1:02-1:03  -- showing on evidence poster 
No objections as long as the defense is allowed to. . . .

 Courtroom Basics

During cross
  •     Cross can be tough, so. . 
  • Anticipate questions that will be asked and prepare answers
  • Act confident. . 
  • Always speak loud and clear.
  • Be responsive -- listen and think before you respond
  • Give only the facts, as you know them
  • never be defensive 

  Courtroom Basics  example     how use voice and hands 


  Courtroom Basics 
Witness is the expert on his or her statement 
Know it backwards, forwards, sideways
Practice!  Practice!  Practice!  

   Courtroom Basics 
A witness can only testify to his or her own witness statement.
or the fact situation if it would be reasonable for him or her to have knowledge of that

Be sure that your testimony  

you don't want to be impeached 

You made a witness statement
and you were truthful  as you made that. . . 
attention to page, line 
show how it affects the case. . . relevance . . . 

 Courtroom Basics  example   

about 1:23 direct and cross  -- impeachment

 Rules for Witnesses 
  • Witnesses cannot use notes.
  • All witnesses must be called (5 Pt.)
  • Witnesses cannot waste time (run time)  (running of the time) - 3-6 points
  • [When you walk in, you've got a seven.  Mrs. Dyatt tells the judges that.  Judges go up and down from that.]
  • If forget or get impeached, could lose three points -- three judges 
  • Witness statements are the statements given to the police. 
  • Witnesses may be impeached.
  • Witnesses are not to use costumes, inappropriate attire, or costume makeup.
  • Use our normal speaking voices, not ethnic or unrealistic accents.  
  • Do not use monotone voice.

Courtroom Basics  example  
monotone -- blonde wife  About 1:30 
attorney defended objection -- Your Honor, may I be heard   

Rules for Witnesses

Do not leave the courtroom until trial is over -- recess only
No talking with anyone outside the well until the trial is over 

Most important strategy  -- Practice, practice, practice 

Most important Rule -- have fun!