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Mock Trial Teams Debate Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Posted: February 19, 2015

After the tragic shooting of an 11-year-old by another 11-year-old, the victim’s parents brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the shooter’s parents.

That’s the civil case to be tried this weekend at Buffalo State. The college is hosting the American Mock Trial Association’s 2015 Great Lakes Regional Tournament. “This is the sixth year we’ve hosted the regional,” said Jon Lines, political science lecturer and long-time director of the tournament. Kelly Boos, assistant to the dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences, is the coordinator.

Twenty-six teams from 16 colleges and universities throughout the Northeast will take part. They include Canisius, Cornell, Dartmouth, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, Penn State,  St. Bonaventure,Yale, and, of course, Buffalo State. The top seven teams will move up to the next level of the annual competition, which culminates in the national championship tournament in April.

Nearly 300 guests will take part in the competition at Buffalo State, which will consist of two trial sessions each day. The trials will be held in Buckham Hall; opening and closing ceremonies will be held in Bulger Communication Center north.

Buffalo State’s mock trial team did well in competitions held last fall. The team’s coaches are Henry Zomerfeld, '11, and Jessica Noto; the team’s captains are seniors Marco Santiago and Safia Hosein. “We are looking forward to the regional,” said Lines. “We’re very grateful to everybody who volunteered to help.”

Mock trial is a USG-recognized organization that fields a team of students who take part in legal competitions. It’s open to students from any major. “Even if students aren’t interested in going on to law school,” said Lines, “the skills they learn, such as oral communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and public speaking will serve them well in any career they pursue.”

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