Mock Trial team wins awards at 18-team tourney


Members of the Mock Trial team competed at the Chucky Mullins Invitational competition at the University of Mississippi on Oct. 22 and 23. (Photo courtesy of @MurrayStatePSS on Facebook)

MacKenzie Rogers, Staff Writer

The Murray State Mock Trial team competed in the third annual Chucky Mullins Invitational, bringing home several awards.

The competition was hosted at the University of Mississippi on Oct. 22 and 23. The tournament consisted of 18 teams from universities in the South, including Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.

A mock trial is an imitation of a court trial. It allows participants to get a realistic play-by-play of a court trial. Participants act out a mock trial based on a case chosen by the American Mock Trial Association.

The case chosen for this competition was Felder v. Koller Campbell Air LLC. Felder was a case in which the plaintiff, Ari Felder, attempted to prove negligence against the defendant, Koller Campbell Air LLC, after a plane crash incident, resulting in the death of the plaintiff’s husband.

During the tournament, after being paired with another university’s team, the Mock Trial team would argue their case with the intention of providing a stronger argument than the opposing team. The grading process is based on the team’s knowledge of the case, the law to apply to the case and the ability to speak on the spot with minimal preparation. Those with the attorney roles were judged based on their abilities to question the witnesses, while the witnesses were judged based on their ability to give a well-informed opinion, present facts without being objected to and adding character to the witness roles.

In order to prepare for competitions, the Mock Trial team met every Tuesday and Thursday, in combination with multiple team meetings and one-on-ones with the designated attorney team to practice.

The Mock Trial team ended the competition with a win-loss record of five winning ballots and three losing ballots. Two of the participating students received awards: Ethan Jackson, a senior political science major, received the “outstanding witness” award, and Ashlyn Tracy, a senior political science major, received the “outstanding attorney” award.

“The tournament was great,” Jackson said. “We had such a good team, and we did very well, all things considered. This team had a few trials and tribulations to conquer, but we did so together.”

The Mock Trial team sent 13 participants to the tournament.

“At first, I was a little worried,” Jackson said. “This was my first time ever doing Mock Trial, and I was concerned that I would not perform as well as some of the other people. Our team was also made up of many students who were first timers as well, so the group consensus was to not get our hopes up. …We did a fantastic job, and I am so proud of everyone involved.”

Tracy said that she had replaced an attorney just two days before the competition.

“We basically had a new team,” Tracy said. Almost everyone had no experience when the semester started. With that being said, we were going in as underdogs. I was confident going in that we would be proud of what we did. As the tournament went on my confidence in this team kept growing as they went above and beyond. It had been a while since I had competed and I had to learn the role very quickly. But as I got back into the swing of things during the tournament, I became confident in my role.”

Associate Professor of Political Science Paul Foote serves as the faculty adviser of the Mock Trial team.

“I was thrilled to watch this team improve after the rounds and excel on Sunday with awards,” Foote said.

The club plans to prepare for the next semester’s regional competition.

“There’s so many good things to get out of the club, and I’d recommend trying it out if you have any interest in courtroom procedures, testifying or just the law itself,” Jackson said. “I’ve always had an appreciation for the court system and law, and being a part of mock trial has only reinforced my ambitions. I loved watching the whole process and participating with some great people.”