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Monmouth 2012-13 Mock Trial Team Competes

The mock trial team competed in the 1st Annual Hooter Invitational hosted by Temple University this weekend. After receiving the fact pattern, case record and law from “the state of Midlands” in the case of Allen v. Neptune Underwater Expeditions in October, the team diligently prepared during intense practices and scrimmages leading up to the competition in Philadelphia. In a competitive field of schools, the mock trial team showed sharp skills of trial technique and strategy combined with a knowledge of evidence. Sophomore team member, Susie Pagano, who plays attorney roles for both the plaintiff and defendant reflects on the team’s first invitational.

“The attorney role in a round is so trying, but yet incredibly exhilarating! Considering that I want to be a lawyer in my future, this was the perfect practice… nothing beats actually being in the round, going up against other schools, and being put to the test by the opponents. Making objections can definitely be the most intimidating, but all it takes is giving it a shot. The first time I had an objection sustained in a round, I was absolutely thrilled,” Pagano said.

The team competed in four rounds, representing both Andy Allen, the spouse of the deceased plaintiff in two rounds as well as the defendant, Neptune Underwater Expeditions, in two rounds. All team members showed incredible preparation and professionalism, having positions as both attorneys and witnesses. The team won a ballot in its last round on Sunday after finishing the first day with a relatively high combined strength score. Team captain Kate Nawoyski met with team leaders from other schools and stated that the spirit of mock trial is competitive yet respectful and the level of competition encourages team members to bring their strongest performance each round.

Witness roles were especially challenging as team members had to bring out emotion on demand and respond to harsh cross-examination from another team’s school.

Joe Dellera said, “It’s definitely a challenge. It does not just about know your entire affidavit and being able to answer the questions; there’s acting involved as well. I love playing my witness role of Reggie Rodgers because he is an important witness, but he also has a little bit more character than an expert witness since he is a layperson.”

Dr. Gregory Bordelon shares his sentiment about the team’s performance: “The team really held their own against schools that have had programs in place for years and have been competing in far more invitational tournaments than we have. This team’s ability to adapt round-to-round in this competition was amazing, and we saw that in that last round ballot win on Sunday!”

Bordelon goes on to compliment the Monmouth family for their support. “The Political Science and Sociology department has been incredibly supportive of our nascent team! With such a student-centric environment and such a wealth of inter-school competitions, it’s nice to know that mock trial has found its niche alongside Model U.N. and the Debate Team.”

The team would like to thank the following people specifically: Dr. Joe Patten for the support and encouragement to the team; Ms. Mel Dale in Office of General Counsel for her critiques in scrimmages immediately before competition; Dr. Charles Cotton in his willingness to help with resources specific to the case file; Dr. Nancy Mezey for equipment help for the team’s “demonstrative evidence” and Ms. Amy Bellina in Student Services in help guiding the program’s logistics for traveling to competitions.