How to Win a Mock Trial

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How to Win a Mock Trial Powered By Docstoc
					In-House Mock Trial Seminar
                  Trial Timeline
1. Motions in Limine
2. Opening Statements
3. Plaintiff’s Case in Chief
     Plaintiff’s Direct Examinations
     Defendant’s Cross Examinations
4. Plaintiff Rests – Defendant Moves to Dismiss
5. Defendant’s Case in Chief
     Defendant’s Direct Examinations
     Plaintiff’s Cross Examinations
6. Defendant Rests
7. Closing Arguments (Plaintiff gets rebuttal)
8. Judges’ Critique
             Pretrial Preparation
Case Theory: Your version of events
     E.g.: The defendant opened the door with a
     crowbar, hit the maid, and then took the

Case Theme: The short phrase that helps
the jury recall what your case is about
     E.g.: This is a case about choices and

Evidence Review: What are all the possible
objections to all the evidence in the case
           Preliminary Matters

Excluding Witnesses (ER 615)
Moving about the well of the court
Pre-marking exhibits
Motions in Limine
     3 MIL maximum
     Clear evidentiary issues only
     Format (IRAC)
            State evidence to exclude and grounds
            State the applicable rule
            Apply the rule
          Opening Statement

   State theme (“This is a case about…”)
   Tell your story
   Tell the jurors which witnesses they will see
   Conclude (“At the end of the case, my co-counsel
   will ask you to find defendant guilty/not guilty.”)
   Say “you will hear”
   Make a claim unsupported by the evidence
         Examinations Generally

With all examinations, you should know
 How to loop (“The light was red, but…”)
 How to admit evidence
 How to object
 How to impeach
 Where to stand
 What evidence is getting in
              Admitting Evidence
               (The “Evidence Dance”)
Say the following in the following order:
  May I approach? (Approach clerk)
  May I have this marked?
  Counsel (Show opposing counsel)
  May I approach? (Approach the witness)
  I’m handing you what has been marked as
  Exhibit 1; do you recognize it?
  How do you recognize it?
  What is it?
  Plaintiff/Defense offers Exhibit 1.
How to Object
     Stand, state the objection confidently, and wait
     If judge allows it and looks to you, respond to opposing counsel
     Move to strike if the objection is sustained
     Sit Down
Sources of Objections
     The Rules of Evidence (know them!)
     Motions in limine
     Look to practice guides for lists of common objections
     Speaking Objections
     Looking at counsel (always argue to the bench)
     Overkill (choose your objections wisely)
     Thanking the court
            Sensitive Objections

In the following cases, object sparingly
  Opening Statement
      Only when opposing counsel is clearly being
      argumentative or violates MIL.
 Closing Statement
      Opposing counsel asks jurors to put themselves in
      someone’s shoes or asks them what they would
      have done.
      Opposing counsel argues a fact not in evidence
   by Prior Inconsistent Statement
     Always begin impeachment by confirming the witness’s
     inconsistent testimony exactly.
     Ask, “is it your testimony that [insert exact quote of oral
     testimony if possible]?”
     Establish that the witness gave a prior statement and that the
     prior statement was true.
     Read the defendant’s prior statement verbatim.
Now move on!
     Do not ask the one question too many.
             The Impeachment Dance
Say the following in the following order:
  Is it your testimony that the light was green?
  This isn’t the first time you’ve given a statement in this case?
  You gave a deposition in this case?
  I was there?
  Defense/Plaintiff’s Counsel was there?
  Before testifying at your deposition, you took an oath?
  It was the same oath you took today?
  You swore to tell the truth?
  And you did tell the truth?
  Your deposition was taken at a time when your memory was fresh?
  After you testified at your deposition, you had an opportunity to read
  the transcript of the deposition and you signed it?
      The Impeachment Dance (cont.)

Say the following in the following order:
  Counsel (show deposition to opposing counsel)
  May I approach? (Approach witness)
  I’m handing you a copy of your deposition in this case.
  Please turn to page 1 and read lines 5 and 6 silently to
  yourself and look up at me when you are finished.
  That’s the portion of the deposition where I asked the
  following question and you gave the following answer:
        Question: What color was the light when you entered the
        Answer: The light was red.
  That was the question I asked and the answer you
                Direct Examination

Questions = open-ended. See ER 611(c).
Focus = the witness.
Make no more than 3 points per witness
Chaptering: Begin each segment of your questioning
with a phrase like “Now I would like to talk about x…”
Outline of an effective cross
      1. Credibility Block
      2. Chapter 1 (1st point)
      3. Chapter 2 (2nd point)
      4. Chapter 3 (3rd point)
Positioning During Direct Examination
             Jury Trials
Positioning During Direct Examination
             Bench Trials
                     Cross Examination
Ten Commandments of Cross Examination (Younger, VC-T004):
  I.      Be brief
  II.     Use plain words
  III.    Use only leading questions (ER 611(c))
  IV.     Be prepared
  V.      Listen
  VI.     Do not quarrel with the witness
  VII.    Avoid repetition
  VIII.   Don’t let the witness explain
  IX.     Limit questioning
  X.      Save it for closing (do not ask the one question too many)
  You want the focus to be on you the attorney, not the witness.
Positioning During Cross Examination
              Jury Trial
Positioning During Cross Examination
             Bench Trial
              Positioning Overview
                 Jury Trial     Bench Trial


                          Closing Argument
Remember to
  Use your theme
  Argue (infer from the facts)
  Use the Jury Instructions
           Esp. the “to convict” instruction
   Use a visual
Outline of effective closing
   State theme argumentatively
   Roadmap the three sections of your closing
           Section 1 (move to one location)
           Section 2 (move to next location)
           Section 3 (move to final location)
   Conclusion: repeat theme and ask for relief

Rebuttal (plaintiff only)
  Choose the two major points of contention in the case and argue them
  Manipulate opposing counsel’s theme if possible.
             Positioning During Closing

Jury Trial                            Bench Trial
The Closing Dance
    Jury Trial
The Closing Dance
   Bench Trial

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