January 21, 2019

Mock trial team hosts UMD for scrimmage

UW-Superior Mock Trial team member Julian Williams presents defense closing. UWS hosted the mock trial team from UMD for a scrimmage on Sunday, Jan. 20.

UW-Superior Mock Trial team member Julian Williams presents defense closing. UWS hosted the mock trial team from UMD for a scrimmage on Sunday, Jan. 20.

Both universities are long-time members of the American Mock Trial Association

There is no better way to learn trial advocacy skills than by standing up and advocating. It is scary and exciting but experiential learning puts you right in the middle of the action and demands that you stand and deliver.

That is what happened January 20 when the UW-Superior Mock Trial team hosted the UMD Mock Trial team for a scrimmage. Both universities are long-time members of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) and as the only collegiate teams in the north, competing against each other in a round of competition is the best way to hone student skills. Both teams are preparing for AMTA Regional competitions February 22-24 at Hamline University in St. Paul.  

This year’s AMTA national case is Midlands Television Studies, Inc. v. Danny Kosack. This is a national simulation civil case that involves dueling negligence claims stemming from an animal attack during a television show rehearsal that produced a fatality. Now the studio and the animal trainer are facing off in court to determine who was responsible for the chimpanzee Elias fatal attack. Was it poor training of the animal by the handler? Was it a chaotic television set the day of the rehearsal? Filled with expert witnesses, lay witnesses and tons of evidence exhibits, the MTS vs. Kosack case has challenged all 650 mock trial university teams across the country to master law, facts and persuasion to outwit each other at tournaments to win.

UW-Superior’s team has increasing improved its win rate throughout four invitational events hosted in the fall, including at the UWS Durst Superior tournament. The team hopes to continue that winning trajectory at next weekend’s Hatting St. Thomas University Law Schools weekend competition in Minneapolis. Over 27 teams from across the Upper Midwest will compete for team and individual awards. Mock Trial team members Autumn Bass (captain), Desiray Matthews (captain), Kenneth Benz (captain), Bella Gigliotti, Julian Williams, Scott Holmes, Alex DeBlaey, and Jeb Leone will compete at this tournament. The team is coached by Maria Stalzer Wyant Cuzzo, Eric Burr and Cassy Burr.  

Area attorneys and judges regularly assist with judging, coaching and mentoring activities. UW-Superior Mock Trial regularly involves over 40 community legal and justice partners in student learning each year.

“UMD is one of the most successful teams this year in regional competitions so it was a big honor to host them this last weekend for a scrimmage,” said Cuzzo. “It would be great to see a northern university like UWS or UMD make it out of one of the most competitive regions in the country in February 2019.”

The two universities plan to scrimmage again in February to hone their skills. This time the campus community will be invited to observe as jury members to weigh on which side wins the case. Watch for additional details on how you can become involved in serving on a mock jury in MTS v. Kosack.  

UW-Superior Mock Trial team member Julian Williams presents defense closing. UWS hosted the mock trial team from UMD for a scrimmage on Sunday, Jan. 20.

UW-Superior Mock Trial team member Julian Williams presents defense closing. UWS hosted the mock trial team from UMD for a scrimmage on Sunday, Jan. 20.

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Mock Trial is an academic, competitive and forensic activity that teaches undergraduate students who to analyze, design, present and defend a case to the trial court.

UW-Superior has been a proud member of the American Mock Trial Association for over 25 years and is a recognized regional and national competitor. Mock Trial is associated with the Legal Studies & Criminal Justice Program at UW-Superior.

For more information, please contact Maria Stalzer Wyant Cuzzo.

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