Friday, February 25, 2011

Homework: Friday, 2/25/11

Below are the questions from your in-class mock trial practice test from Wednesday. You will see these questions again next week in a quiz, and those of you participating in the Mock Trial will similar questions in Springfield.

Use the questions to complete the following assignment on loose leaf paper.

Identify the five questions with which you felt least comfortable on Tuesday. Write the questions down, numbering each as it is numbered here. Under each question, attempt to answer it using your mock trial materials and/or the search function at Note -- you will need to use a specific search term (i.e., "cross examination). We will talk about the questions on Monday.

If you have more than 5 questions you didn't get, make sure you make a note of their numbers.

Each question and response is worth 2 points. The assignment is worth 10 points total. I will not have copies for you to use on Monday, so make sure you complete this over the weekend.

1. The scope of re-cross is (choose the best response)
a. limited by the scope of questions asked on the initial cross examination
b. limited by the scope of questions asked on the redirect examination
c. limited by the stipulations
d. unlimited
e. there is no recross allowed at mock trials

2. Sequestering a jury means:
a. asking the jury questions
b. selecting the jury
c. polling the jury to see if a verdict is unanimous
d. keeping members of the jury away from the general public, as well as the media
e. providing meals for the jury

3. If a cross-examining lawyer asks a question and the witness gives an answer that doesn’t
answer the question, what is the proper objection?
a. narrative
b. no foundation
c. non-responsive
d. asked and answered
e. badgering

4. What is it called when a witness lies while under oath?
a. perjury
b. impeachment
c. embezzlement
d. hearsay
e. reaching

5. During trial, which of the following is not true?
a. you should rise when addressing the judge
b. you should badger the witnesses until you get the answers you want
c. you should direct all remarks to the judge or witnesses, not to opposing counsel
d. don't make objections unless you have a basis
e. don’t ask witnesses about what they think might have happened

6. Which of the following is something that attorneys do not do during trial?
a. opening statements
b. direct examinations of witnesses
c. cross examinations of witnesses
d. closing arguments
e. responding to questions from the jurors

7. Testimony by an expert witness:
a. cannot be considered by the jury
b. should be given special consideration by the jury
c. should be considered on the same basis as any other witness testimony
d. should only be considered by the judge
e. none of the above

8. Mock trial witnesses
a. are bound by the facts in their affidavits
b. may be examined by the judge and members of the jury if deemed appropriate
c. may be impeached based on materials not found in the mock trial materials
d. may play the role of two witnesses during any one trial
e. may use costumes and dialect to express themselves.

9. If a witness offers an out-of-court statement made by another person to prove a matter asserted in the witness's own testimony, that statement is called:
a. Argumentative
b. Hearsay
c. Asked and answered
d. Leading
e. Improper character testimony

10. Circumstantial evidence may be relied upon
a. in criminal cases only
b. only when it relates to character
c. if it leads to a reasonable inference based on other facts
d. can be used only in appellate cases
e. in civil cases only

11. A change of venue is
a. a change in judges
b. a change in the location of the trial
c. a change in jury instructions
d. a change of lawyers
e. a change in the formal charges against the defendant

12. Jury instructions tell the jury
a. how they are to behave in court
b. whether the defendant is guilty or innocent
c. where to sit
d. the procedures they must follow when deliberating the case
e. that they can’t go home until they have rendered a verdict

13. The best thing to do if you believe that a witness has made an unfair extrapolation is
a. object to unfair extrapolation
b. file a rules violation at the end of the round
c. ignore the situation
d. attempt to impeach the witness
e. stop the trial and consult with your teacher

14. If a witness is having problems remembering what to say, you may
a. help the witness by refreshing his or her recollection
b. answer the question yourself
c. ask a leading question to stimulate the answer you need
d. talk louder
e. dismiss the witness and call someone else

15. Attorneys may "object" to certain statements made, or questions asked, by opposing counsel. Who makes the final determination regarding these "objections?"
a. the jury
b. opposing counsel
c. the judge
d. the witness
e. the bailiff

16. What do you call a trial without a jury present?
a. Invalid trial procedure
b. Oral argument
c. Bench trial
d. Closed court
e. None of the above

17. A stipulation is an agreement that certain facts pertaining to the case:
a. may never be admitted into evidence
b. may only be referred to by the plaintiff
c. may be admitted into evidence
d. only the judge may see
e. none of the above

18. Pointing out a prior inconsistent statement of a witness during cross-examination is
a. impeachment
b. contradictory evidence
c. hearsay
d. improper recollection
e. none of the above

19. In Illinois, to become a lawyer, you must:
a. Graduate from an American Bar Association accredited law school
b. Pass the Bar Examination
c. Pass the Character and Fitness Review and an ethics examination
d. Take an oath.
e. All of the above.

20. The question "What happened on March 7, 2007?" is asked on direct examination. Which of the following is the best objection?
a) beyond the scope of direct
b) leading
c) the question calls for a narrative response
d) hearsay
e) any of the above

21. To impeach a witness on cross-examination, you may ask questions relating to all but which of the following?
a. prior bad conduct that makes his/her credibility (truth-telling ability) seem doubtful and shows that the witness should not be believed.
b. the accuracy of his/her sensory perceptions, which is the witness' ability
to see, hear or smell.
c. prior statements made by the witness, which contradict his/her testimony at trial and point out the inconsistencies in his/her story.
d. the bias or prejudice of the witness, that is, showing that the witness has reason to favor or disfavor one side of the case.
e. Any of the above may be used to impeach a witness.

22. "Excited Utterance" is an exception to which standard courtroom objection?
a. leading question
b. asked and answered
c. lack of personal knowledge
d. hearsay
e. lack of proper foundation

23. Which of the following would be considered a leading question?
a. State your first and last name...
b. State your address...
c. What is your occupation...
d. You really didn’t see anything, did you...
e. Where were you on the day in question...

24. Which of the following do NOT take place before a trial?
a. pretrial preparation
b. discovery
c. pretrial hearings
d. jury selection
e. rendering a verdict

25. Generally, only relevant evidence may be presented during trial. Relevant evidence is any evidence, which helps to prove or disprove the facts in issue in the case. However, even relevant evidence can be excluded if it is:
a. unfairly prejudicial, potentially confusing to the jury or a waste of time
b. presented by the an unsympathetic witness
c. presented by a defendant’s family member
d. presented by an expert witness
e. common knowledge any person should know

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday, 2/22/11 Homework

Law & Government Homework:
Use the information on pp. 34-35 in your Mock Trial handbook to write objectionable questions for each of the following objections:
1.    Irrelevant evidence
2.    Improper character testimony
3.    Argumentative question
4.    Speculation
5.    Lack of Personal Knowledge
Use Whitney Grey as your witness.
Due on your desk at the start of tomorrow’s class. 10 points.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Upcoming Practice Dates

We will have a voluntary practice at school in Room 309 on Saturday, February 19, 2011 from 9-12. Remember, Ms. Furey and I will be there at 9:00 with doughnuts and juice, so if you committed to practice, make sure you are there on time UNLESS you've already told me you will need to be a little late.

We will have a MANDATORY practice next Saturday, February 26, 2011 from 9-12 in Rm. 309. Attendance will count as a quiz grade. Make the necessary arrangements to be there on time.

We will discuss after school practice times for the upcoming week on Saturday.

Some notes and due dates

Here are the notes and due dates discussed in class today.
  • This Weekend: Study Case Materials and Mock Trial Rules. We’ll take a written test every day next week.
  • Rolling project grades: 20 points for the following, saved to the Y: drive and uploaded to the wiki:
  • Monday: “Finalized” Openings
  • Tuesday: “Finalized” Closings
  • Wednesday: “Finalized” Directs and Crosses
  • These are mostly attorney assignments. All other students will have a project introduced next week.
Openings and Closings:
  • Does it have a hook?
  • Does it follow a theme?
  • Does the theme from the opening carry over to the closing?
  • Does it lay out your side’s case?
  • Is it argumentative? It shouldn’t be!
  • Is it 3 minutes (openings)
  • Is it 4 minutes (closings, 5 minutes prosecution including rebuttal)
  • Is it convincing?
  • Is it REAL?????

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wednesday's Roles

Your role assignments for Wednesday's Mock Trial scrimmage against Glenbrook South are below:

Opening Statement: Delissa
Direct Examination of Eaton Bahr: Delissa
Direct Examination of Lane O'Brien: Pasharea
Cross Examination of Whitney Grey: Rukiat
Cross Examination of Ashton Bellows: Khaylian
Cross Examination of Jensen Decker: Pasharea
Closing Argument: Khaylian

Eaton Bahr: Keianna
Lane O'Brien: Shang/Shaquille

Opening Statement: Shang
Cross Examination of Eaton Bahr: Shang
Cross Examination of Lane O'Brien: Latrice
Cross Examination of Falcon Berk: Maya
Direct Examination of Ashton Bellows: Maya
Direct Examination of Whitney Grey: Rukiat/Shaquara
Closing Argument: Latrice

Whitney Grey: Shaquara/Rukiat
Ashton Bellows: Kilah

Advisers/Rules Experts for the Prosecution:

Advisers/Rules Experts for the Defense:

All of these roles are tentative. You may be reassigned as we go forward. If you are not assigned a role but would like to try something, now is the time to speak up!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Take-Home Quiz

This quiz must be completed on loose leaf paper. It is worth 20 points total, and is due on Monday, Feb. 14. Each question must be answered in a complete sentence. It has two parts, each referring to one specific section of your binder:
  • Mock Trial Rules Handbook
  • Mock Trial Case Materials
Each section of the quiz is clearly labeled. The case materials can also be accessed using the links on the right hand side of the blog.

Section 1: Mock Trial Rules Handbook. 6 questions, 10 points total.
  1. Based on the rules you were given, explain when it is appropriate to give an objection in the case. In your response, include specific information on who can object, when they can do it, and when they cannot (2 points).
  2. How much time is alotted for direct and cross examinations (for both prosecution and defense witnesses) (1 point)?
  3. Summarize the purpose of a closing argument, then give a short example of the type of information which could be included in a closing argument for our case (3 points).
  4. Summarize the steps necessary to introduce an exhibit into evidence (2 points).
  5. What is a redirect? Define the term, then explain its purpose in a trial (1 point).
  6. What is the highest point total a team can achieve in the mock trial competition (1 point)?
Part 2: Mock Trial Case Materials. 4 questions, 10 points total.
  1. If you were a juror, what criteria would help you determine if a witness’s testimony is reliable? Choose one witness from the People v. Grey case and explain how that witness can win over the jury (3 points).
  2. Using the diagram on p. 27 of the case materials, describe the site of the fire's ignition EXACTLY, giving specific evidence as set out by Fire Marshal Bahr (3 points).
  3. How much does Bahr's report state that the building was valued at? How much was it insured for (1 point).
  4. In order to win the case, what must the prosecution PROVE? Specifically show what must be proven, then evaluate whether or not the prosecution can actually prove anything based on the evidence given. Hint: examine the first four pages of the case materials (3 points).
20 points total.

More on Openings and Closings

Here's additional information on writing opening statements, taken directly from the mock trial rules handbook.

1. OPENING STATEMENTS: The objective of the opening statement is to acquaint the
judge and the jury with the case and to outline what you are going to prove through witness
testimony and the admission of evidence. Include a short summary of the facts; mention the
burden of proof (the amount of evidence needed to prove a fact) and who has the burden in
this case; the applicable law; a clear and concise overview of the witnesses and physical
evidence that you will present and how each will contribute to proving your case. Remember,
it is essential that you appear confident in your case. Stand before the jury and use eye
contact. Students may move about to facilitate expression.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hints on Opening Statements and Closing Arguments

Below are some hints on how to write effective openings and closings. They come from one of the attorneys working on our case, Mr. Conway. Mr. Conway is an assistant attorney general for the state of Illinois. That means that he's got plenty of experience delivering both openings and closings. If you follow his advice, you just might win the case for us!

Opening Statements:


·         It’s a statement, not argument (applying fact to law) but you need to get advocacy in
·         Keep simple and tight.  The jury has no idea what the case is about and you know too much.  Don’t load them up with confusing facts right out of the gate.  You could lose their attention for the rest of the trial.


·         Explain who you are (including co-counsel) and who you represent.

·         Briefly explain why you are here i.e. “we are here today to resolve a charge of Arson brought against the Defendant.”

·         Give a snapshot overview of the story.

Prosecution example:  “On July 4, ______ a fire completely destroyed the Bellows and O’Brian Pub and after a thorough investigation law enforcement determined that it was not an accident and that the Defendant was responsible.”

Defense example:  “On July 4, ______ a fire destroyed the Bellows and O’Brian Pub and in a desperate effort to assign blame for the fire, Ashton was charged with a crime he didn’t commit and based on nothing more than a hunch.”

·         Explain the major bits of evidence that will be presented to the jury (or not presented in the case of the Defense).

Prosecution example:  You will hear testimony that this fire was no accident.

Defense example:  You will hear no eye-witness testimony that Whitney set fire to the pub.

Note:  Do not overpromise

·         End with a punch

Prosecution example:  After considering all the evidence you will have the privileged opportunity to see that justice prevails.   Thank you for your service. 

Defense example:  The only justice needed today is for you to send a strong message to the State that evidence is actually required to convict someone of a crime and to see to it that an innocent young man/woman does not have his/her life destroyed on a hunch. 

Closing Arguments


·         Appling fact to law (this is the Argument)

·         Prosecution:  Detailing the evidence that was admitted proving each element of Arson.  Go through the elements one by one.  If defense presented rebuttal evidence, argue that it was not credible and should not be considered.  Explain that circumstantial evidence can be used to prove the charge. 

·         Defense:  Explain that it is the Prosecution’s job to prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt and if they cannot, the jury cannot convict.  Point out how the prosecution utterly failed at proving any element of Arson beyond a reasonable doubt.  Attack each element by raising doubts to as many as possible.  Mention where Prosecution presented no evidence and where they did, how it is not credible and/or point out rebuttal evidence.

·         Include a creative punch at the end.

·         Thank the jury for its service. 

Brownie Points:  Particularly for defense, to seize on a prosecution statement in and opening or closing and pounce on it in defense opening or closing.  You can’t put that in a script.  That is on the fly. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Welcome back!

Hopefully, you will all look at least
this stylish at next Wednesday's
mock trial practice.

The projects you began last week, which should be almost entirely done, are now due at the end of the class period. They must be saved to the correct location and uploaded to the wiki with two exceptions -- the Grey direct and Bahr direct teams. Save your work but do NOT upload it to the wiki.

Remember: we have a practice scheduled downtown for next Wednesday during the school day. I will have permission slips for you tomorrow. Food and beverages will be provided. Even more importantly, you'll get to dress up and go downtown, which is always nice.

People who have been working as attorneys, I will talk to you today about opening and closing arguments.

Mock Trial Time Guidelines

Below is information copied from Section XX in your Mock Trial rules handout. Use them to help you plan for your questioning, or for your opening and closing statements.

PLEASE NOTE: Time guidelines for cross-examination have been increased to allow time for discrediting/impeaching a witness who may have created facts. This is in response to the elimination of “creation of material fact" and "outside the scope of the mock trial materials" objections that were permitted in previous years.

When practicing, be sure your case conforms to these time restrictions or penalties may ensue.


Pre-Trial Motions (when specifically allowed) (2 minutes) _____
P Opening Statement (3 minutes) _____
D Opening Statement (3 minutes) _____

P Case in Chief
P Direct Examination of both witnesses (including optional redirect) – 15 mins _____
D Cross Examination of both witnesses (including optional recross) - 11 mins _____

D Case in Chief
D Direct Examination of both witnesses (including optional redirect) - 15 mins _____
P Cross Examination of both witness (including optional recross) - 11 mins _____
P Closing Arguments (5 minutes) _____
D Closing Arguments (4 minutes) _____

Prosecution/Plaintiff gives opening statement first. Prosecution/Plaintiff gives closing argument first; the Prosecution/Plaintiff may reserve a portion of its closing for a rebuttal. The Prosecution/Plaintiff’s rebuttal is limited to the scope of the Defense’s closing argument. Attorneys are not required to use the entire time allotted to each part of the trial. Time remaining in one part of the trial may not be transferred to another part of the trial. Round off times to the nearest one half minute:

Examples: 3 minutes, 10 seconds = 3 minutes
4 minutes, 15 seconds = 4 1/2 minutes
2 minutes, 45 seconds = 3 minutes


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Examinations Project

Today we will continue working on those directs and crosses. Follow the instructions below with your assigned partner/partners. Note -- many of you are moving around to different parts of the case. The goal of this project is to get quality direct and cross examination questions done as quickly as possible so that we can move on to better, more complete practices. Ideally, you will be able to get as many opinions about your questions as possible.
We will work on this today and tomorrow or Thursday (depending on weather) in the computer lab. The project is worth 50 points, and is due Thursday. Rubrics for directs and crosses are accessible below. It must be saved to the correct folder on the Y: drive and uploaded to the wiki. Note -- check with me before you delete ANYTHING on the wiki.
  • Save directs to the Y:\Ramin Law & Government\Directs folder.
  • Save crosses to the Y:\Ramin Law & Government\Crosses folder.
The document should be saved as "________direct/cross -- your last names".
Include your complete heading and the names of all students working on the questions today in your document.
NOTE: Know that NO ONE has an advantage in this project. Even though some lines of questioning are more complete than others, all of our directs and crosses need some real, serious work.
Direct of Eaton Bahr: Delissa, Keianna
Cross of Eaton Bahr: Shang, Julian
Direct of Lane O'Brien: Pasharea, Kilah
Cross of Lane O'Brien: Latrice, Jazmin, Tiara
Direct of Whitney Grey: Shaquara, Ariel
Cross of Whitney Grey: Rukiat, Latasha
Direct of Ashton Bellows: Maya, Shaquille
Cross of Ashton Bellows: Khaylian, Vanecia, Xavier
  1. First, review Ms. Duffy's sample direct for Grey or Ms. Furey's sample cross for Grey.
  2. Compare their questions to yours. How is hers different? How can your direct be improved? How can the answers be improved?
  3. Identify the theory for your side. Decide which information your witness can share with the jury which "proves" your theory. Start with one of the following statements: "Whitney Grey is clearly guilty of arson because..." or "We must doubt Whitney Grey's guilt because..." All supporting evidence should come from the affidavit you are working on.
  4. Examine the rubric for direct examinations if you are working on a direct.
  5. Examine the rubric for cross examinations if you are working on a cross.
Please let me know if you have questions.