Amber Milliron, Contributor
The Lewis University Mock Trial Team will be busy during the upcoming weeks to prepare for their presentation on Family Day Sept. 28 along with a tournament they are hosting at Lewis the weekend of Nov. 16 and 17.
The team travels almost every weekend to participate in various tournaments.
Every year the team is tasked with understanding and putting one case on trial. The American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) provides each university with the same case material.
The case is either a criminal case or a civil case, and it alternates every year. AMTA gives rules for competitions as well as the Midlands rules of evidence, which are used to govern what can and cannot be heard in the courtroom.
This year, the team is dealing with a criminal case. There are nine witnesses, each with a different personality and side of the story regarding what really happened at RachterWorld (pronounced Rockter) Amusement Park in August of 2012.
The basic facts are that there was a robbery and the defendant, Whit Bowman, was in on the crime. He denies having any involvement in the charges against him. The story gets just a bit more interesting because there is a beloved security guard, Winston Thompson, who gets injured during the chase and remains in a coma during the trial.
There is strong evidence for the prosecution, but with many people all having a different version of what happened, the defense might be able to spin the facts in their favor. From the park accountant, Haley Floyd, to the park mascot, Rory Shelton, there is room for some silliness from just about every witness, excluding the cop. There is also talk about the robbery being an inside job.
Students interested in watching the case unfold should attend Family Day, where the mock trial will be deliberating.
Students who are interested in joining the team can come to practices, which are every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in Benilde Hall, room 167. For more information, email James Houlihan, pre-law advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can also call his office, located in the basement of Dorothy Day, at 815-836-5313. Every major is accepted, as well as any experience level. This organization helps with critical thinking, creative thinking and public speaking skills.