Thursday, January 28, 2010


The Bench:  where the judge (s) sit

Notes for a Civil Case

Notes for a Civil Case

Civil Wrong -- Torte Claim

Plaintiff needs to prove negligence.
We need to understand the meaning of negligence under the law.
 The plaintiff should get the final word because plaintiff has the burden of proof.

 Plaintiff must show all 5 to prevail:
1. duty owed (something the defendant should have been doing)
2.  breach of duty
3.  factual links between duty and cause
4.  further -- proximate (legal) link cause (timing)
5.  show harm -- actual damages
(In this case we will not discuss damages in dollar figures -- unlike a real-life case.)

Define negligence:  actual conduct is culpable (guilty because it falls short of what a reasonable person would do under the circumstance. 

 foreseeable risk of harm
draw conclusion of what could reasonably happen
don't move beyond fact statement

The objection must come from the person being scored in that portion of the scoring.  You will object when the witness being examined is your assigned witness for direct or cross.

objections by team lawyers
prepare to impeach a witness
"Show me in your statement where you said that. "  Is it a fair or an unfair extrapolation?  
An extrapolation that would affect the outcome of the case should be objected to and the objection should be sustained.

prepare to introduce exhibits
called exhibit before introduced as evidence -- have available for opposing team and judges before trial begins. 
-- move for admission -- make the motion
take it step by step  -- all parts of the trial 

prepare to have witness recognized as an expert witness

lay foundation -- 
establish  who they are and what it is that they know.

While conducting a witness examination, as needed, you may say, "Your Honor, I need a moment to confer with council."  That means you would like to consult with your fellow attorneys.  Use this sparingly!

You can go back to a witness before the closing argument.

Always civility! 
-- treat the witness respectfully, but dismantle their story.  The best part is often spontaneous conversation -- when you are reacting (with understanding of the case) to what the opposition is saying at the time. 

Ask questions -- don't accuse
"Swing with confidence -- if you're pretty sure you're carrying a big bat.  

Be bulldogs about rules -- make sure you know them well, and hold the other team to them.  
If judge seems to not understand the rules,  ask to approach the bench -- (you always ask permission if you wish to approach the bench.)
Ask, "How would you interpret this for me?" 

 (You always ask permission of the judge if you wish to approach the bench, the witness, the bailiff.)

Make sure we debrief after the first experience.   No "hangover."  No "glorifying."

This will be a BATTLE OF THE EXPERTS.   Experts must be able to portray the facts with confidence -- deliver lots of facts quickly.   tell the story.

 Language for a civil case:  preponderance of evidence  All five
tip the scale -- 50% plus a grain of sand (or a feather)
*Do not leave in doubt anything you can show.

As the plaintiff you are holding the defendant liable for his/her conduct.
He/She erred in conduct.
Show all 5 elements. 

On either side -- make your tone and language precise

Show that you've proven your case and highlight that for the judge.
  shine a bright light on it.
Defense -- show that the plaintiff has NOT proven their case.

Language matters!
Read the case closely -- How did you see it?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Comparing Cars

C.J. saw something like a Camry.   Riley was driving a Honda Accord.  Of course, in different years, the cars would have looked somewhat different.


Link to Lots of Wonderful Information About Mock Trial


Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009-2010 Competition Dates

P    2/24    1:00    in Orem
            X Springville

D    3/12    1:00    at SL Justice Court
            X Christian Heritage