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 AMTAregulations, 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 Food Family Science Building, Room 213 and every Saturday morning from 9:00 to 12:00 at the law offices of McCormick & Barstow
A Look at Cases
2017-2018 State v. Hendricks
Authorities have charged Dylan Hendricks with the attempted murder of Kerry Bell-Leon, the spouse of Carmen Bell-Leon. Was this a crime of passion? Did Kerry really see Dylan at the time of the attack, or was Kerry suffering from the side effects of a strong recreational drug named Everest?
2016-2017 Riley Winter v. TBD, Inc.
Riley Winter is a prominent professional writer. On December 23, 2015, Winter was fired from Winter’s job at the defendant’s magazine. Winter contends that the termination violated the Midlands Age Discrimination Act.
2015-2016 State of Midlands v. Avery Bancroft and Chase Covington
On April 19, 2015, officers from the Midlands State Police Department arrested Chase Covington, the chair of the Midlands Gambling Commission, and Avery Bancroft, a local businessperson, on suspicion that Bancroft bribed Covington in an attempt to procure Covington’s support for a new casino license. Covington argues that no bribe occurred. Bancroft admits that a transfer of money took place but argues that Bancroft was entrapped by the actions of law enforcement.
2015-2016 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?
2014-2015: 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?
2013-2014: 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?
More information on past cases is available from collegemocktrial.com
Christopher Michael Irwin
Faculty Instructor and Attorney Coach
Gordon M. Park
Sebastian Wenthe, President
Tess Irving, Vice President
Tanner Morgan, Secretary
Jackson Hadden, Treasurer
Lauryn Flores, Recruitment Chair
Noura Basharaheel, 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 traveling 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, Micheline Golden 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.