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Ohio Northern University to host ninth annual Polar Bear Invitational Mock Trial Tournament

Jan 12, 2015

Ohio Northern University’s mock trial program will host the ninth annual Polar Bear Invitational Mock Trial Tournament from Jan. 17-18. The competition will take place in ONU’s Pettit College of Law, Hill Building and Dukes Memorial. More than 200 students from 16 colleges and universities representing five states will participate in the tournament.

The tournament consists of four rounds, with trials taking place simultaneously in each round. Each mock trial has a panel of two judges who evaluate students on their knowledge of the case material and their presentation and litigation techniques. On Saturday, the first round of the competition begins at 9:30 a.m., and the second round begins at 3 p.m. On Sunday, the first round begins at 9 a.m., and the second begins at 2 p.m.

The tournament gives honors to the top teams as well as outstanding attorneys and witnesses. 

The case this year, as assigned to each mock trial group by the American Mock Trial Association, is civil in nature. The facts of the case are as follows: In 2010, Sydney Park invited classmate Jesse Duran to hang out at the Parks’ home. Both children were 11 years old. The Parks keep a gun in their home. That morning, the gun was discharged, killing one of the children. The victim’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the shooter’s parents.

Dr. JoAnn Scott, professor of political science and advisor of the ONU mock trial team, emphasized the benefits afforded to students involved in mock trial beyond awards and honors. “At the ONU invitational, students get the chance to try a case against different regions, where legal norms are different,” Scott said. “Practice of this sort only adds to the mock trial experience. Since the majority of team members are considering law school, mock trial allows them to see if it’s really what they want to do.”

An invitational such as this one is just practice, Scott said. Teams gain experience and learn from their mistakes in order to prepare for regional and national competitions later in the year.

The teams participating this year are from the following colleges: Allegheny, Bowling Green State University, Case Western University, University of Dayton, University of Delaware, Eastern Michigan University, Hillsdale University, Kenyon College, University of Kentucky, Manchester University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Northwood University, University of Pittsburg and St. Vincent College.

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