It*s Mock Trial Fun Time!

It’s Mock Trial Fun
What are we going to do?
• We are going to take your GINORMOUS packet and reenact a
courtroom trial.
• There will be attorneys and witnesses
• It will be a bench trial (I am the judge)
• Attorneys will have the opportunity to object!
What is this case about?
•A train conductor plowed
into a car that was speeding
away from the police (trying
to beat the train). One
passenger was killed. The
train conductor was texting.
What are the two sides?
Prosecution (the State)
•Prosecution has the burden
of proof
•They need to prove Parker
Plunkett guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt.
What do they need to prove?
•Parker Plunkett is guilty of:
•1. Manslaughter
•2. Negligent Homicide
•3. Aggravated Assault
•4. Endangerment
Who are the Prosecution’s 3
•1. Billie Jean Dugan
•2. Detective Amari Lassard
•3. T.J. Hollenbeck, PhD
Billie Jean Dugan
•He was the one driving the
car, fleeing from the police
Detective Amari Lassard
•Police officer who investigated
the accident
•S/he was the one who arrested
•Investigated Plunkett’s texting
T.J. Hollenbeck, PH.D.
• Expert witness
• Director of the National
Transportation Safety Group of
• Provides research statistics on safety
issues and distracted driving
• Compares texting and driving to
driving under the influence
•The defense does not have the
burden of proof.
•The defense needs to poke
holes in the prosecution’s case
Who are the witnesses for the
•1. Officer Andy Reddig
•2. P.T. Gonzalez
•3. Jules Hoffman, PhD
Officer Andy Reddig
• Officer that was chasing Billie Jean
• Will testify to Dugan’s erratic
• Arrived on the scene right after
the accident
P.T. Gonzalez
• Teenager who was riding the light
• Will testify to Plunkett’s character
• Will testify to what s/he saw of
the accident that night
• S/he is the only eye witness
Jules Hoffman, Ph.D
• S/he is an expert witness
• Will testify as an accident reconstructionist
• Will testify about the visibility, reaction time, and lack of seat
belt use
• S/he is trying to say that regardless of what Plunkett did, the
accident could not have been avoided.
• S/he will say that if Tara had been wearing her seatbelt, she
would have not died
•You will be split into 2 teams
•Plunkett is guilty
•Dugan is responsible
though he is not on trial
Opening Statements
• Both sides will give an opening statement
• Write a 5 minute speech
• Outline the story – what are the facts? What
• What is your side trying to prove?
• What will your witnesses say?
• Whoever does this role can use notes
• It’s a safe role
• Matter-of-fact/straight forward. Not much
emotion is used
Six of you will play the role of a witness
Witnesses act like the character they are playing
Roles have to be memorized
An attorney will ask you questions (you will help write those
• An attorney for the other side will cross-examine you
• They will try to pick apart your testimony
• This is a great role for those who like to act. A person needs
to be able to be convincing and to think on your feet
Direct Attorney
• This is considered a friendly attorney
• You get your witness to tell the story
• You ask open-ended questions (What happened? Please
• Avoid yes/no questions
• A person wants to be well-versed, but you can use notes
• You have state objections/respond to objections
• You have to be able to help out your witness if they get stuck
C-X (cross) Attorney
Considered a hostile attorney
You question a witness on the other side
You pick apart their testimony; you try to make them look bad
You ask yes/no questions – Isn’t it true? You did that, correct?
Never ask an open-ended question
You want to be well-versed, but can use notes
Really need to be able to think on your feet
Can have a bit of an attitude
Need to use and respond to objections
Probably the most challenging, but fun role
Closing Statement
• Each side will give a closing statement
• The speech will be about 5 minutes long
• Attorney can use notes, but needs to be wellversed
• A closing statement will be a recap of what
happened during the trial
• What did your witnesses prove?
• Point out weaknesses in the other side.
• What do you want the judge (me) to rule?
Stu’s favorite courtroom
• You Can't Handle The Truth – YouTube
• Time to Kill - Closing Arguement - YouTube
Why Stu is so intense about
this part of the trimester…..
What happens if you waste my
or your classmates’ time?
Hints for the MT quiz on
• Need to know which witnesses are for Pros/Defense
• General info about the witness statements
Who was the passenger
Who is the defendant
What kind of car
Texting increases the likelihood of a crash by _________%
Texting is like a BAC of ___________
How many text messages did Plunkett receive
Be able to identify weaknesses of the witnesses’ statements
• 26 questions -- formative

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