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Mock Trial team to compete at national championship

April 19, 2018
group portrait of Mock Trial teamThe 2018 Mock Trial team members, back row, from left: Hannah Brennan '19; Zachary Marshall-Carter '18; Jonathan Dietz '18; Matthew Hoffner '19; and Tinashe Marera '20. Front row, from left, Cindy Molina '18; Deisy Abarca-Espiritu '19; Emily Murphy '19; and Samantha Myers '19. (Mock Trial Organization photo)

For the second year in a row, the University of Rochester’s Mock Trial team is headed to the American Mock Trial Association’s national championship. The 48-team event runs April 20 to 22 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Our organization has spent the past few years working to build each of our teams up so that we as a whole can stand out and beat competition,” says organization president Deisy Abarca-Espiritu ’19. “The fact that we’re going to nationals for a second time is really a reflection of the work that everyone has put in to move us forward. We have a lot of depth and consistency, which will ensure that in coming years our younger members will have access to even better competitive opportunities.”

Rochester will face off against four other teams, taking on roles of both the defense and the prosecution of this year’s national championship case, United States v. Barrow, a trial about a bank teller charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery by providing insider information to three people who attempted to rob a bank.

The case is fictitious, but teams use real case law, and their rules of evidence are modeled after the Federal Rules of Evidence.

During the national tournament, the Rochester team will spend two rounds prosecuting Barrow and two rounds defending her.

“We’ve spent all year working toward this,” says Hannah Brennan ’19, who plays a witness for the team. “Now it’s about really doing our best and having fun.”

The outcome of each trial in the tournament will be decided by a panel of legal professionals including lawyers, prosecutors, and judges. Each team’s defense and prosecution case is scored by the judges, with the highest scoring team advancing. In addition to Abarca-Espiritu, Rochester’s team includes Jonathan Dietz ’18, Matthew Hoffner ’19, Tinashe Marera ’20, Zachary Marshall-Carter ’18, Cindy Molina ’18, Emily Murphy ’19, and Samantha Myers 19.

As one of three seniors on the team, Marshall-Carter is excited for his final tournament.

“I’ve been doing this for years, so it’s great to see our organization getting to this level,” he says.

While many teams at nationals have faculty or alumni coaches, the University’s mock trial team is completely student-run.

“This is a very valuable opportunity for us,” Abarca-Espiritu says. “One where we can learn and gain experience.”



Category: Student Life