On the weekend of February 8th, ten MMC students came together to hold court. With majors ranging from Theatre Arts to Philosophy and from Business to Political Science, the MMC Mock Trial Team traveled to Yale University where they competed in the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) annual tournament. The team won two out of four rounds and took home the Spirit of AMTA Award for the second year in a row. The Spirit of AMTA Award is given to the team that exemplifies the ideals of honesty, civility and fair play.
AMTA prepares a new case every year, alternating between civil and criminal cases. This year, the case involved an amusement park robbery, wherein an employee caused injuries to a park security guard (resulting in a coma) while successfully fleeing the heist (allegedly, of course). Although this fantasy robber escaped, students tried another employee implicated in aiding the crime. “It was a pretty complicated case,” admitted Beier, Assistant Professor of Accounting and Business Management, adding that it takes months of study and hard work to try something of that magnitude.
Mock Trial is probably a lot more complicated than you would think. Teams of ten are divided into three attorneys and three witnesses for each side of the case, e.g., prosecution and defense. In each round, the team for one school represents the prosecution and the team for another school represents the defendant. Attorneys and witnesses are scored in multiple areas by a panel of three judges, including the direct examination and cross examination of witnesses, the proper use and introduction of evidence and the witness’s ability to help his or her team.
“Mock Trial helps the team members learn excellent life skills,” stated Professor Beier, citing public speaking, critical and strategic thinking, and thinking on one’s feet. “There’s a lesson to be learned in mock trial. The judges’ decisions are not always right. It teaches students to face the world with a different set of expectations.”
This year, MMC’s second year competing, Sabrina Nuno, was named as a Witness Award Honoree and first-year participant, Ariel Kline, was named as an Attorney Award Honoree. AMTA awarded only 24 students out of more than 250 with witness or attorney honors, and this is the first time the MMC Mock Trial Team has won an individual award. Needless to say, Professor Beier and her students have a lot to be proud of.