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UCLA Mock Trial teams dominate regional tourney

By Harold Lee

March 3, 2003 9:00 p.m.

Fifteen minutes is all the time the UCLA Mock Trial teams need
to plan case strategy that will ultimately reveal whether
seven-year-old Derrick Smith was killed by an epileptic seizure or
hit-and-run driving.

And so far, the program’s teams have been doing pretty
well with that amount of time.

Three of UCLA’s four Mock Trial teams nabbed the top three
spots at the Western Regional Mock Trial tournament which took
place in late February.

The top two UCLA teams finished undefeated at the Western
Regional Tournament against a pool of 30 competitors which included
teams from Stanford, UC Berkeley and USC.

These recent victories mean UCLA Mock Trial will be moving onto
the National Championship tournament to be held in Des Moines,
Iowa, April 4-6. Sixty schools from across the nation will be
competing for the national title, currently held by Iowa State.

“UCLA is sending two of its strongest teams to the
National Championship Tournament with plans of coming home with the
national title,” said Nima Tahai, a third-year political
science student and UCLA Mock Trial director.

The highest the Mock Trial team has ever placed in the National
Championship Tournament is fifth.

Mock Trial teams consist of 8 participants who share the roles
of attorneys and witnesses and compete for four rounds.

It is decided at random whether a team will defend or prosecute
and the witnesses are chosen out of a pool of nine possible

“Attorneys are judged for legal arguments and witnesses
are judged overall on an entertaining and credible
performance,” Tahai said.

Those who participated in Mock Trial in high school marked the
difference between college and high school Mock Trial.

“(College Mock Trial) is more exciting and dynamic,”
said first-year undeclared student and plaintiff attorney Amanda
Bonn. “Witnesses are encouraged to develop a character
““ there is more of an emphasis on acting.”

Second-year political science major and plaintiff attorney Brian
Caforio explained what distinguishes a great Mock Trial team from a
mediocre one.

“A knowledge of case facts that makes it impossible for
the other team to catch you off guard,” he said.

Bonn also stressed that 80 percent of Mock Trial is

“If you’re confident, that separates the good teams
from the mediocre teams,” she said.

UCLA Mock Trial is sponsored by the UCLA Pre-Law Society and the
Anderson School of Business.

More information about Mock

Trial can be found at

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