Presentation on theme: "Competition Judges’ Training The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education Presents the 32 nd Annual Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition."— Presentation transcript:
Competition Judges’ Training The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education Presents the 32 nd Annual Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition
Ohio High School Mock Trial The Ohio Mock Trial Program, established by the Ohio Center for Law- Related Education (OCLRE) in 1983, is a statewide educational program designed to allow students to become aware of their constitutional rights and responsibilities. The High School Mock Trial program provides students the opportunity to learn first hand about the law, court procedures and the judicial system while also building interpretation, critical thinking and public speaking skills. Each year volunteer attorneys write an original, authentic case involving a constitutional issue that is relevant to students’ own personal experiences. Ohio High School Mock Trial reaches at least 3,500 participants from approximately 200 schools each year and is the 2 nd largest program in the nation
Emerson Jones v. Buckeye Juvenile Correctional Institution Emerson Jones is a former inmate at Buckeye Juvenile Correctional Institution (BJCI). Emerson is bringing suit under the 8 th Amendment against BJCI regarding how a food fight and his/her consequent medical treatment were handled. Emerson contends that a BJCI exceeded the scope of proper use of force in pulling him/her to the ground during the fight, and that BJCI’s medical staff provided an unacceptably low level of care in treating his/her subsequent wrist injury. BJCI contends that Emerson perhaps contributed to the fight and exacerbated his/her wrist condition independent of medical treatment.
Emerson Jones v. Buckeye Juvenile Correctional Institution Procedures unique to this case: This is a fairly standard trial with pre-trial briefs submitted by both the Plaintiff and the Defense. There are many disputed facts in this case surrounding the commotion of the food fight, so student strategies may vary widely.
2015 Mock Trial Procedural Rule Changes If a majority of the judging panel determines that there has been a material violation of a competition rule that affected the fairness of the trial, 5 points shall be deducted from the offending team’s score on each judge’s score-sheet. – Changed from a 10 point deduction
Trial Procedure Pretrial Conference (Judging panel will receive score sheets from teams). Attach names to faces; Prosecution will present first. Be careful not to score the wrong person. Opening the Court (Bailiff will open the court) Opening Statements (4 min. maximum per statement) *All time will be kept by Timekeepers provided by both Prosecution and Defense teams Swearing in Witnesses (Bailiff will swear in all witnesses at once) Testimony of Witnesses (Direct/Redirect 20 min.; Cross/Recross 18 min.) * Attorneys for Prosecution and Defense will each call two witnesses Closing Arguments (5 min. each, with an additional 2 min. Prosecution rebuttal) Post-Trial Objections *After the scoring judges have been excused, the presiding judge will ask if either team has any post trial objections. At this point all PERFORMING team members involved in this round may communicate among themselves, but communication is strictly prohibited with team and legal advisors and other audience members. Only student lawyers from the just-completed round may address the court. Prohibited communication is a material violation of the rules. It affects the fairness of the trial and must be penalized. Deliberation Conclusion (Bailiff will call the court back in session) Debriefing and Announcement of Outstanding Witness and Attorney Awards (12 min.) * Maximum total comment time for ALL judging panel members combined is 12 minutes * Do not announce the winner of the trial Closing of court (Bailiff will close the court) *Total time of trial should be no more than 2 hours. Judges may not abbreviate the trial’s natural progression.
Judging and Scoring Guidelines Each trial will be presented before a judicial panel consisting of three judges, magistrates and/or attorneys. The judicial panel will hear the trial as a “bench trial.” This is not a jury trial and students will address the Court and not a jury. One judge will serve as the presiding judge. – The presiding judge will control the courtroom and rule on motions and objections. – The presiding judge also will complete a score sheet, to be used in case of a tie. The other two judges will serve as scoring judges and evaluate the team and individual Each panel may judge two trials, if possible. All attempts will be made NOT to have the same judicial panel assigned to judge a team more than once. The trial will be judged based on individual and team performance, not the merits of the case. It is important to remember that only the presiding judge is to speak during the trial. The presiding judge’s comments are limited to ruling on objections and do not include questioning witnesses or counsel. Presiding judges are asked to control the courtroom, rule on motions and objections only, and are asked not to “teach” during a trial. If judicial robes are available, judicial panelists are asked to wear the robe during competition. Each judge should have a clear view of the witnesses. Judges may sit in the jury box, if necessary.
Scoring Process All three judges MUST fill out a score sheet. Each judge will evaluate each trial element and the overall team on a scale of DO NOT use fractional points or award zero points. NO TIES allowed in total points. The team that earns the most points on an individual judge’s score sheet is the winner of that judge’s ballot. If both scoring judges’ ballots show the same winner, that team will advance. If the scoring judges’ ballots are split, the presiding judge’s ballot will be considered. The team receiving the majority of the three ballots wins the trial.
Scoring Rubric 9-10ExcellentExhibits mastery of all procedural and substantive elements. Significantly advances team effort. 7-8GoodProficient in most procedural and substantive elements. Helps team on the whole. 5-6FairModerately comfortable with procedural and substantive elements of the trial but contains some imprecise use of trial elements or lacks polish. 3-4WeakDoes not advance team effort. Minimal comprehension of procedural and substantive trial elements. 1-2PoorNo evidence of procedural and substantive trial elements.
Attorney Performance Indicators Advocacy skills: creative, organized and convincing presentation Understanding of legal issues: ability to apply law and facts to case Oratorical skills: poised, able to think on feet, extemporaneous delivery Demeanor/Professionalism/Civility Mastery of trial technique: effective use of objections, appropriate form of questioning, ability to recognize and rehabilitate own weaknesses, mitigate opponent’s good points Did not ask questions that called for an unfair extrapolation from the witness Did not make excessive, unnecessary objections when the invention of fact had no material impact Attorneys must fully conduct a cross exam of each witness called to testify Opening statement: provided case overview, identified theory of the case, discussed the burden of proof, stated the relief requested and was non- argumentative Closing argument: continued theory of the case introduced in opening statement, summarized the evidence, applied the applicable law, discussed the burden of proof, concentrated on the important – not the trivial, and overall was persuasive. Attorneys respectful of opposing counsel. Complies with Competition Rules
Witness Performance Indicators Knowledge of case facts and theory of team’s case Observant of courtroom decorum Believability of characterization and convincing in testimony Avoided unnecessarily long and/or non-responsive answers on cross examination Articulate and responsive Did not make unfair extrapolations Complies with Competition Rules
Team Effort Indicators Did the team establish a credible theme for its argument? Did the team select appropriate witnesses to prove the argument? Was witness examination organized? Did witness examination develop the argument? Was the team’s case carefully crafted and skillfully delivered? Complies with Competition Rules
Rules Regarding Invention of Facts and Extrapolation Witness testimony in Mock Trial is limited by the following rules. The object of these rules is to prevent a team from “creating” facts not in the material to gain an unfair advantage over the opposing team. Invention of Facts - Direct Examination. On direct examination the witness is limited to the facts given in his/her own written statement. If the witness goes beyond the facts given (adds new facts or speculates about facts), the testimony may be objected to by the opposing counsel as speculation or as invention of facts outside the case materials. If a witness testifies in contradiction of a fact given in the witness statement, opposing counsel should impeach the witness’s testimony during cross-examination. Invention of Facts – Cross Examination. If on cross-examination a witness is asked a question, the answer to which is not contained in the facts given in the witness statement, the witness may respond with any answer, so long as it is responsive to the question, does not contain unnecessary elaboration beyond the scope of the witness statement, and does not contradict the witness statement. An answer which is unresponsive or unnecessarily elaborate may be objected to by the cross-examining attorney. An answer which is contrary to the witness statement may be impeached by the cross-examining attorney.
Penalties If a majority of the judging panel determines that there has been a material violation of a Competition Rule, that affected the fairness of the trial, 5 points shall be deducted from the offending team’s score on each judge’s score-sheet. If the panel believes that a 5-point penalty is insufficient given the seriousness of the violation, the panel shall consult with the Competition Committee, which may impose additional sanctions including, but not limited to, disqualification. One example of a material rules violation warranting a serious penalty would be communication between team members and their teacher or legal advisor, whether through signals, notes, or electronically. All objections must be made before the presiding judge retires to deliberate; after that, complaints may be made only after the competition, in writing, using the complaint form. Such complaints will not alter the decisions of the judicial panel.
Outstanding Witness and Attorney Awards The award is determined by adding together both scoring judges’ scores. The presiding judge’s score plays a role in determining the outstanding witness and attorney awards only IF there is tie between the scoring judges. If a tie still exists the scoring judges will make the decision based on a general consensus. In a two judge panel the attorney and witness awards will be based on both judges points added together. If a tie exists on a two judge panel, the scoring judge will decide the winner. A template has been provided on the back of the presiding judge’s Score Summary sheet to assist in determining the winner of the awards. The Outstanding Witness and Attorney awards for the trial will be announced after deliberation, at the conclusion of the trial. Witness and Attorney awards are NOT consolation prizes. They must be won by objective score tabulation.
Conclusion of the Trial Limit the critique for the entire panel to a total of twelve (12) minutes. Present the Outstanding Witness and Outstanding Attorney awards during the critique. But do not announce which team won the trial Recognize each team for a job well done. Remember: – Be brief. The teams are on a very tight schedule. Do not arbitrarily shorten the trial, however. – Bear in mind the educational goals of the tournament. Criticism should be constructive and absent of harsh remarks. – Do not make personally derisive comments either to the participants or to any other person while on the premises of the competition. Keep in mind at the competition that many of the students’ friends and family members may be within earshot. Also, please remember these are high school students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. These students participate in mock trial as an extracurricular activity and devote hundreds of hours preparing for and participating in the competition. – Humor is a welcome tension reliever during critiques – remind everyone that his or her experience during the competition should be fulfilling and fun. – Comments should be of a general nature and not directed toward individual members of a team, except perhaps when pointing out something particularly well done. – Be fair and distribute your comments broadly. – The most valuable assistance you can provide in your critique is to point out (generally) what the team did well, rather than to concentrate on what the team or an individual did poorly.
How to Preside Deal with pre-trial matters. No motions will be entertained in pretrial Teams should present completed score sheets during pretrial Conduct the trial according to the Ohio HSMT Competition rules and control the courtroom Only the presiding judge is to speak during the trial. The presiding judge’s comments are limited to ruling on objections and do NOT include questioning witnesses or counsel. Make rulings on objections based ONLY upon the Ohio HSMT Rules and Simplified Ohio Rules of Evidence. If there is a timing discrepancy of 15 seconds or more between the Plaintiff and Defense timekeepers, the Presiding Judge will be notified and will resolve the discrepancy before the trial continues. – The running clock stops for objections Interpret rules regarding no unfair extrapolations strictly and narrowly. The presiding judge will score each team and complete a ballot The presiding judge ballot is considered only in the event of a tie The presiding judge will fill out the Competition Summary Score Sheet and return it, as well as all 3 score sheets, to an OCLRE representative at the OCLRE registration desk at the conclusion of the trial Remain on the bench for 3 minutes after closing arguments to allow for post-trial objections. Scoring judges may retire during this time. During deliberations, check the math on all score sheets and that they have been filled out completely. Fill out the Competition Summary Score Sheet before returning to the courtroom for the conclusion of the trial. All three judges should present the Outstanding Awards and offer critiques. Do NOT announce which team is advancing from the trial.
Advancing in Competition All teams winning both of their trials (Plaintiff and Defense), determined by receiving at least two ballots per trial, will advance in competition from districts to regionals. Similarly, all teams winning both of their trials (Plaintiff and Defense), determined by receiving at least two ballots per trial, will advance in competition from regionals to the state competition.
Important Reminders Please do not judge a trial in which you might be perceived to be biased toward one of the teams or to otherwise have some conflict of interest. To ensure the integrity of the Mock Trial program, do NOT interact with any team/legal advisor or student on a personal basis while in the courthouse. Do not refer, at any time, to ANY matter other than the trial at hand It is important to remember that the comments during the actual trial are limited to the presiding judges only and they are asked to control the courtroom and rule on motions and objections only. Presiding judges are not to question the witnesses or counsel and are asked not “to teach” during a trial.
Important Reminders Extrapolation During pre-trial remind students that no extrapolation is permitted on direct and only fair and neutral extrapolation is permitted on cross. To prevent the trial from getting bogged down with extrapolation objections, also advise students that objections of unfair extrapolation/outside the scope should be reserved for matters of importance and not used to correct trivial misstatements and if possible handle in cross. Objections Each attorney should be afforded an adequate opportunity to state the grounds for the objection and to respond to the other attorney. Score Sheet Each judge (2 scoring and 1 presiding) MUST fill out the score sheet completely. Do not tell the students if you are not thoroughly prepared to serve on a judging panel or if you are unfamiliar with the materials or rules. This is insulting to the students because they have spent so much time and effort preparing -- and are relying on you to come prepared to judge knowledgably and fairly. Do not refer to “real world” rules during the trial or the debriefing session. This is not the real world, nor is it intended to be. Do not base your decisions on the merits of the case, but rather on the effectiveness of the students’ presentations. Pay close attention during the trial presentation. Students watch each judge’s behavior very closely.
Thank You! Thank you for all of your time and efforts. The Ohio High School Mock Trial Program would not exist without volunteers like you! Please contact Priya Sonty Mock Trial Program Coordinator, at or with any questions or concerns