The mock trial team will participate in the American Mock Trial Association’s preliminary championship.
This year’s Temple mock trial team is headed for the American Mock Trial Association’s Opening Round Championships in Washington, D.C., the preliminary competition to the national championship.
Ten of the student team members will compete against area schools including the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University and Drexel University.
Temple’s team will also compete against Georgetown and Princeton universities, both of whom Temple faced in the Philadelphia Regional Tournament last month, in which Temple placed No. 8.
This year, teams at the opening round will argue the various points of “Davis v. HappyLand Toy Company,” a fictional lawsuit concerning the toxic substances of children’s toys and the manufacturing of those toys.
The team began preparing for the case in September. The cases alternate between civil and criminal suits and undergo minor changes throughout the year.
“There shouldn’t be a lot that surprises us,” Eric Horst, the B team captain, said. “We prepare to the point that even if there’s something surprising, it isn’t crippling.”
The mock trial team practices three or four days a week for approximately two hours a night.
A and B teams were combined to create a “super team,” said Kaitlyn McCarthy, the president of Temple’s mock trial team.
As in a real courtroom, students use visual aids, physical evidence and witness statements.
“Everyone’s doing less than they did for regionals because we’re giving everyone a part,” McCarthy said.
“People can start as attorneys but may change to other things,” said McCarthy, a senior criminal justice major, adding that roles change according to performance ratings.
“The judging is completely subjective,” McCarthy said. “The more the witness seems like a person in court, the more points you get.”
At the end of the trial, a possible 140 points can be awarded.
Each competing school presents a prosecution and defense, including opening statements, witness questioning, cross examinations and closing statements.
“There’s a lot of damaging information that can come out on the cross examination of the witness,” Horst, a junior economics and political science major, said.
Horst, recalling a previous invitational competition against Villanova, added that Temple keeps the competition in mind.
“For being around five years, in such a competitive region, the fact that they moved to the next level is impressive,” said coach Sara Guccini, an attorney who works for the District Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia. This is Guccini’s first year as coach.
The Opening Round Championships will take place March 19-20 at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse.
Amelia Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.