About Mock Trial
Mock Trial is an extracurricular program offered at colleges and universities across the country. The Fresno State Mock Trial Program is a competitive organization that promotes the ideals of law and the judicial system through participation in intercollegiate competition. Unlike most extracurricular programs, Mock Trial is also a three unit criminology course.
Competitors take the roles of witnesses and attorneys, performing opening statements, closing statements, and direct and cross examinations before a panel of scoring judges. Competition for the entire academic year revolves around a single civil or criminal case, which is released by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA).
Each trial simulates an actual jury trial and consists of two teams, with one team representing the plantiff and one team representing the defense. Each side (Plaintiff/Prosecution or Defense) offers opening statements, witness examinations, and closing arguments. Teams are scored on their ability to present a persuasive and professionally delivered case theory. Lawyers on both sides must be able to think quickly on their feet and reconstruct their case as the trial develops. Trials are always fast-paced, suspenseful, and exhilarating.
Fresno State first entered Mock Trial competition in 2005, and since then has steadily built both the size and the profile of the activity. In 2014 Fresno State's Mock Trial Program was one of only 48 teams to participate at the National Championship Tournament.
The team was founded by Professor Harvey Wallace and Gordon Park, two well-known attorneys with strong commitments to Fresno State. Sadly, Professor Wallace passed away in 2007 just after the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) allowed us the privilege of hosting our first-ever Regional Tournament. As a result of this tragedy, Gordon Park became a professor at Fresno State in order to allow the program to continue. In February 2008, the team honored Professor Wallace by hosting the Harvey Wallace Northern California Regional in his memory.
What We Do
Aside from learning important legal procedure and strategy, team members compete in invitationals and tournaments across the country. This season, we participated in events stretching from UCLA to Yale and everywhere in between. Contact a team executive now to find out why Mock Trial is the most exciting extracurricular activity offered here at Fresno State!
Prospective Team Members
We are constantly looking for new talent, so if you plan on pursuing a career in law, dramatic arts, or just want to learn about legal procedure in a fun and immersive environment, don't hesitate to contact us. Anyone who is intrigued by the legal field or has an interest in acting is an ideal candidate. In each trial, members must portray lawyers and witnesses. Both positions require intensive practicing in order to remain poised and professional under the pressure from the opposition. Obviously, past experience with Debate or Drama is advantageous, but all of the required skills can quickly be obtained by simply dedicating your time and efforts to memorizing the case material and practicing.
Join the Team
Anyone can join Fresno State’s Mock Trial team. However, due to AMTA regulations, there is a limited amount of positions for tournament-competition members. Intramural competitions will be open to all members and teams regularly cycle through different students giving everyone an opportunity to prove their skill. The process of constructing a case can seem daunting at first, but with the help of the other students and dedication, anyone can quickly develop the necessary skills of a competent trial attorney or witness.
If Mock Trial sounds like something you might be interested in, we strongly encourage you to contact our recruitment chair. We practice twice a week. We have class every Wednesday night from 6:00 to 9:00 in Kremen School of Education and Human Development, Room 170 and every Saturday morning from 9:00 to 12:00 at the law offices of McCormick & Barstow.
A Look at Cases
2015 Andy and Lee Park v. Hayden Duran
In 2010, Sydney Park invited classmate Jesse Duran to hang out at the Parks’ home. Both children were 11 years old, and left alone. The Parks kept a gun in their home. That morning, the gun was discharged, killing one of the children. Was this an unforeseen tragic accident? An intentional act? Or an accident resulting from the negligence or absence of a capable guardian?
2008-2009: Walton v. Blitz News Network
When Professor Lane Hamilton is found dead in a parking lot, Blitz News Network declares a local politician as the culprit. Did the network have sufficient information upon which to base such a claim or was gubernatorial candidate Drew Walton wrongfully defamed?
2007-2008: State of Midlands v. Bobbi Campbell
On the night of November 30, 2006 Dawn Francis, a Child Protective Services worker was stabbed by Bobbi Campbell with a needle infected with HIV. Was this the result of a drug-induced craze, or was Bobbi Campbell simply protecting her child from an unknown assailant?
2006-2007: Jeffries v. Polk County Police Department
After Jamie Conmey, a police officer, shoots a robbery suspect, placing him in a coma, the entire police department comes under investigation. Did Officer Conmey have sufficient reason to use lethal force on Max Jeffries, or was this an excessive reaction as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental defect that should have kept him off duty?
2005-2006: State of Midlands v. Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry was in desperate need of money to pay for a much needed medical operation. But would she kidnap her friend’s daughter for ransom? The Police Department thinks so. But did they really investigate all of the suspects?
More information on past cases is available from collegemocktrial.com
Christopher Michael Irwin
Faculty Instructor and Attorney Coach
Kellie Hustedde, President
Juan Guzman, Vice President
Gillian Tarascou, Secretary
Tess Irving, Treasurer
Suleman Masood, Recruitment Chair
Kate Hobbs, Fundraising Chair
Donate/Support Mock Trial
Developing and maintaining a competitive program is difficult, especially considering the fact that many of our students hold jobs while they are attending school. Preparing top-notch case materials and travelling to tournaments throughout the region is a costly endeavor. We receive some of our funding from the student government, The College of Social Sciences Dean’s Office, and private sources. Fresno State Mock Trial does not charge a participation fee so that all students, regardless of economic background, may join. We need your help to ensure that we have the resources to provide an enriching and educational legal experience to every student who wants it.
Donations to the Fresno State Mock Trial Program are handled through the Development Office of the College of Social Sciences.
If you are interested in making a donation to Fresno State Mock Trial, please contact Director of Development, Kent Karsevar at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the link below, check the box marked College of Social Sciences and write Mock Trial Team in the box marked other.