Center-Sponsored First Mock Trial Team Receives “Spirit Award” Honorable Mention

Posted on Mar 8, 2016 in Featured, Olivet Nazarene University | 0 comments

Center-Sponsored First Mock Trial Team Receives “Spirit Award” Honorable Mention

On Friday, February 19, 2016, nine Olivet Nazarene University students traveled to Joliet, IL to participate in a two-day regional mock trial competition of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). Olivet’s mock trial team – known as the ONU Trial Tigers – was comprised, mainly, of History and Political Science majors and Legal Studies minors, some of whom are also members of the Law and Politics Society, a campus club affiliated with The Center for Law and Culture.

Among the 25 colleges that participated in the Joliet regional competition were the University of Chicago, Northern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin, and Wheaton College. Olivet’s first ever mock trial team, coached by Zach Bohannon, Director of The Center for Law and Culture, began preparing for the competition in the fall of 2015. Teams from colleges and universities across the country register for the mock trial competition and receive the same case materials.

This year, the trial they prepared for was a criminal case that involved a bribery charge. The regional mock trials are, generally, held in February in a courtroom of the local courthouse of the city where the regional contest is being held. Competing teams who win at the regional level have an opportunity to move on to the super regionals and, then, to the national finals that will be held this April at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

According to Bohannon, the ONU Trial Tigers did not advance to the super regionals, but they were given Honorable Mention for the Spirit of AMTA award, bestowed upon “the team that best exemplifies the ideals of honesty, civility, and fair play.” The Trial Tigers were recognized for this award at the banquet and awards ceremony held on Sunday, February 21.

Bohannon commented, “The mock trial was a great opportunity for students to gain firsthand experience in how our country’s legal system works and to see how trials are actually conducted in the courtroom. I am extremely proud of our students, not only for their many hours of preparation and hard work, but for the professional, courteous way they conducted themselves during the two days of competition. They represented Olivet and our Lord well.”

Dr. Charles Emmerich, Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Law and Culture, remarked, “The new mock trial program introduced at Olivet by the Center is yet another indication of the great momentum achieved by the Olivet-Center partnership. This exciting speech and debate program will enhance Olivet’s reputation for academic excellence.”

Olivet Sophomore and team captain, Chesley Rowlett, says the Trial Tigers are already making plans for next year’s mock trial and are eager to begin devising their strategy for the civil case they will try in 2016-17. Other members of the team this year include freshmen Jeremy McGrath and Mattheus Mitchel, sophomores Joshua Dille and Elizabeth Lanham, juniors Elaine Hackney and Justin Lautermilch, and senior Ryan Covarrubias.

Mock Trial in action

ONU Mock Trial attorneys Elaine Hackney, Chesley Rowlett, and Mattheus Mitchel study their notes as they prepare to try a case at the regional competition.

Mock Trial Group (2)

The ONU Trial Tigers, L-R: Jeremy McGrath, Joshua Dille, Justin Lautermilch, Mattheus Mitchel, Chesley Rowlett, Coach Zach Bohannon, Elaine Hackney, Elizabeth Lanham, and Ryan Covarrubias

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *