Mock Trial Team Advances to Opening Round of Championship

Members of the Mock Trial Team at the Regional Qualifer in Buffalo.
Members of the Mock Trial Team at the Regional Qualifer in Buffalo.

Hamilton’s Mock Trial team continued to have a successful season, finishing fourth at the Buffalo, N.Y., regional tournament held Feb. 10 - 12. With an overall record of 7-1, the team earned a bid to compete in the Opening Round Championship Series in Hamilton, Ohio, on March 23 - 25. Maggie McGuire ’15 and Ian Carradine ’15 won Outstanding Witness awards, demonstrating the depth of the team’s talent. 

This year’s case, State v. Dawson, involved an allegedly intoxicated driver who got into an accident that killed one of her passengers. Each participating school organizes a prosecution side and a defense side. The prosecution must attempt to prove to the jury that the defendant is guilty of both driving under the influence and murder in order to claim victory. The defense needs only to mitigate the charge of murder in order to win.


Two judges, usually local attorneys or law students, preside over the trial and rule on objections. Each fills in a ballot to decide the winner of each round. The trial is designed to mimic many aspects of an actual trial. Both sides call witnesses, argue over evidentiary matters, conduct cross-examinations and give opening and closing statements.

Tyler Roberts ’12, Hamilton’s captain, said, “I was very proud of the team’s performance this weekend. We definitely exceeded expectations. Everyone executed well and there weren’t any glaring issues. We just need to continue to polish and then we’ll be in good shape at ORCS.”


And execute they did. The first trial pitted Hamilton’s prosecution against the University of Rochester, ending with split ballots. In the second round, Hamilton’s defense won both ballots by substantial margins against Buffalo State. Excited to gain a potential bid to the opening round of the national tournament, Hamilton’s team maintained a solid performance on the second day of the tournament after midnight polishing and last minute revisions.


Taking both ballots from Ithaca College and both from SUNY Binghamton,  the team’s talent and preparation fell into place. Leading to a bid-worthy record of 7-1, Hamilton’s Mock Trial Team placed fourth.


The Buffalo Regional Qualifier gives out 8 bids for the Opening Round Championship Series, the first round of the national tournament. Other teams advancing to the Ohio ORCS included Penn State, University of Michigan, Bowling Green State University, Syracuse University and the University of Rochester. Ian Carradine ’15 called his first Regional Qualifier  “simply amazing. The competition was extremely heated and the camaraderie among the Hamilton team warmed my heart.”


Roberts said the team was strong at Regionals and commented on particularly successful roles. “I was especially impressed by some of the younger members of the team,” he said. Maggie McGuire ’15 and Jason Driscoll ’14 both performed tremendously this weekend.”


With hopes of continuing their success in Ohio, the  Hamilton team is now drafting plans for a rigorous practice schedule that should guarantee polish and top-tier performance. Excited to compete in the Opening Round Championship Series, the team looks forward to the highly competitive nature of their next tournament.

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