JBA announces winning Chautauqua County Mock Trial team

JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Bar Association (JBA), founded to elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession and cherish the spirit of brotherhood among the members of the association, was pleased to announce the winners of the Chautauqua County Mock Trial competition at the Robert H. Jackson Center, 305 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown. JBA President Todd Thomas made the announcement.

The Chautauqua County Mock Trial finals are part of the New York Statewide High School Mock Trial

Program, a joint venture of the New York Bar Foundation, the New York State Bar Association, and the Law, Youth & Citizenship (LYC) Program. The final round of the Chautauqua County competition was held on Tuesday, March 27 in the Cappa Theatre of the Jackson Center. The two final teams in the competition included Frewsburg High School and Falconer High School. Chautauqua County Family Court Judge Michael Sullivan presided over the mock trial. The teams were tasked to argue the fictional case, People v. Carson Conners, which involved a nineteen year-old senior at Bigtown High School in Bigtown, New York who was arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct in violation of Penal Law. During tournament competition, each team argued both sides of the case and assumed the roles of attorneys and witnesses. The tournament judges scored the teams based on a rating sheet that included scoring on preparation, performance, and professionalism.

The relevant facts of the Conners case provided ample opportunities for the students to prosecute and defend their positions in a compelling way. The students presented absorbing opening and closing arguments on both sides. Each student was very well-prepared and demonstrated an impressive working knowledge of trial procedure. The students’ courtroom skills also extended to very convincing performances as witnesses on the stand. The student attorneys rejoined well during their direct and cross examination of witnesses, even when objections were overruled or the student was unable to successfully advance an argument.

Ultimately, the Frewsburg High School team prevailed as the winner of the 2018 Chautauqua County Mock Trial Competition. The teams were not only judged on their case presentation, but their critical reasoning skills, listening skills, and their ability to “think on their feet.” Judge Sullivan also evaluated the team members’ ability to follow courtroom procedures and professional decorum. Following the competition, he provided constructive feedback to both teams, but noted that each team represented their schools with distinction. The Frewsburg High School team was coached by History and Government teacher Thomas Nelson. The team members included: Bryce Gibbons, Caleb Terhune, Anna Smith, Kelsey Wolfe, Bill Piazza, Mark Mammoser, Austin Anderson, Brad Nelson, Tyler Marchincin, Nik Sanfilippo, and Ian Clark. This was the sixth County Mock Trial Championship for Frewsburg High School.

On May 16, the JBA officially presented the Frewsburg High School team with its engraved Robert H. Jackson Cup at its annual meeting. Attorney Pete Wilson, who is the Chautauqua County Mock Trial Coordinator, presented the trophy to the team and acknowledged the extraordinary skill, dedication and professionalism the students demonstrated during the competition. He also thanked the attorneys and judges who volunteered their time to evaluate the students during the competition.

Students can learn more about forming a mock trial team or participation in future competitions by going to the New York State Bar’s website at www.nysba.org/nysmocktrial. Attorneys or judges who participate in mock trial can apply for New York CLE credit. The New York State Bar’s Law Youth and Citizenship Program will process all requests for MCLE credit through the New York State Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education Department, an accredited provider of CLE approved by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board. See NY State Bar Assoc., MCLE RULES FOR ATTORNEYS: EARNING CLE CREDIT FOR MOCK TRIAL www.nysba.org/mtclecredit.

The mission of the Jamestown Bar Association is to protect and promote the professional interests of its members, to foster pride in the profession, encourage civility and collegiality in the practice of law, provide, sponsor or facilitate continuing legal education, oversee legal ethics of members, and increase public awareness and understanding of the crucial role played by the legal profession and legal system in society.

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