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Tournament Evaluator Orientation Welcome to the 2015.

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1 Tournament Evaluator Orientation Welcome to the 2015

2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION This is a civil action between two neighboring families arising from the shooting death of one of their children by the other – in one of their homes; You are now in the State of Midlands. Midlands has its own statutes, codes and case law. Please do not apply any independent knowledge you may have of applicable law.

3 PARK v. DURAN – A CIVIL CASE In 2010, Sydney Park invited classmate Jesse Duran to hang out at the Parks’ home. Both children were 11 years old. The Parks keep a gun in their home. That morning, the gun was discharged, killing one of the children. The victim’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the shooter’s parents.

4 MERITS OF THE CASE This case allows teams to argue a variety of theories of liability and defenses You are NOT here to decide liability! Rather, you are here to: Evaluate the students’ understanding and negotiation of the facts as they are provided.

5 The Merits of the Case Mock trial cases are designed to be fact balanced so that each side has roughly equal material with which to work. So it is important to focus on each sides’ understanding and negotiation of the facts as they are provided as opposed to additional facts that you believe the participants should have or how you believe a jury would vote based on the merits of the case.

6 Your Role Your role is to evaluate the student competitors. Some students will be attorneys and some will be witnesses, but every student will be evaluated. Evaluating consists of two things: SCORING and CRITIQUING

7 Your Ballot Guides Your Evaluation You will be given a 5 page ballot that will allow you to critique every function you evaluate and to give a score for every function. The ballot is a carbon form so make sure not to lay pages on top of one another while writing. The students will fill out all of the names on the ballot (with the exception of outstanding attorneys and witnesses on the blue score sheet).

8 Page 1 Page one begins with criteria to use when evaluating. We will come back to this later. At the bottom you will see a place to comment on each of the opening statements. Please provide only narrative critique, all scores are to be written on Page 5.

9 Page 2 Page 2 covers the plaintiff’s case and is broken into 3 main sections because the plaintiff will call 3 witnesses. Within each section there are 4 boxes that allow you to comment on the performance of 1) the directing attorney, 2) the crossing attorney, 3) the witness on direct and 4) the witness on cross. Again, scores are written on Page 5.

10 Page 3 Page 3 is set up like page 2 because it covers the defense’s case. Like the plaintiff, the defense will call 3 witnesses.

11 Page 4 Page 4 covers closings. The plaintiff will go first and then the defense. The plaintiff will then be allowed a rebuttal. There is also a catch-all area for writing overall comments about the presentations.

12 Page 5 – The Blue Scoring Sheet All scores are written on this sheet. Note that every function must be scored and that a space is provided for every function. At the bottom are spaces for ranking the top 4 attorneys and top 4 witnesses in the trial. You MUST list 4.

13 Scoring Each attorney and witness is scored on a scale from 1-10. 10 is the best, 1 is the worst. Fractions and decimals are disregarded so use only whole numbers. IT IS VITAL THAT YOU SCORE AS YOU GO!!!!!!!!!!! Ranking of the top attorneys and witnesses at the bottom of Page 5 is a wholly subjective (but MANDATORY) call for each judge to make.


15 What to Look for When Evaluating Attorneys should be evaluated on their knowledge of case facts, courtroom procedure, the rules of evidence, and courtroom decorum. Witnesses should be evaluated on how convincing their portrayals are and how well their testimony corresponds with their side’s case theory. Remember that Page 1 of the Ballot has detailed criteria to use in scoring attorneys and witnesses.

16 What to Expect In the Round You will be evaluating a civil jury trial. If you are on a 3 judge panel, 2 of you will evaluate (complete ballots) and one will act as the trial judge. If you are on a 2 judge panel, both of you will evaluate and one of you will also act as the trial judge. If you are evaluating you should expect to be addressed by the teams as a juror.

17 If You Are the Presiding Judge You will rule on objections based on the Midlands Rules of Evidence which closely mimic the Federal Rules. The objection exchanges that arise from them are helpful in evaluating attorney knowledge. In addition to the rules of evidence, the students have been given statutory law and case law to use. These are the only codes and law they may use. Do not apply precedents or rules not provided in the case materials. Witnesses are considered to have been already sworn and all documents are presumed signed. Formal certification of expert witnesses is not required, but not prohibited. Expertise is established by laying the appropriate foundation. Keep the trial moving but allow for a brief break between cases in chief and before closings if time permits.

18 Motions The attorneys can make a MOTION TO STRIKE. The attorneys can also make a MOTION TO CONSTRUCTIVELY EXCLUDE WITNESSES, though this rule may or may not apply to the designated state’s or defense’s representative. No other motions can be made.

19 Invention of Fact Occasionally there will be a dispute as to whether a witness has unfairly invented or extrapolated a fact. No objection to such an invention is recognized; the remedy is impeachment. 2 basic rules govern invention of fact. On direct examination a witness is limited to the facts contained in or reasonably inferred from his or her affidavit. HOWEVER If on cross examination a witnesses is asked a question, the answer to which is not contained in the witness’s affidavit, the witness may answer with any answer so long as the answer does not contradict other facts in the witness’s affidavit and is responsive to the question asked.

20 Time Constraints To keep the trial moving there are time constraints on openings, closings, directs, and crosses. Teams provide their own timekeepers that keep track of their time.

21 Rebel Trojan Volunteers Tournament volunteers (like the person giving this presentation) may come into your round. This is part of their tournament duties. You should not infer any connection between a tournament volunteer and either team in a round.


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