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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Activities & Organizations

UH mock trial debate team has solid performance at Colorado competition

The UH Mock Trial Debate Team all ranked at the mock trial competitions after extensive preparation.

The team showed the extent of their efforts at the Air Force Academy’s first annual Thunderbird Invitational on Oct. 21 in Colorado Springs, Colo. This was the team’s first competition of the season.

“This year, we’ve been meeting every week to review the case and detail our strategy. With the help of our attorney coach and UH Law Center grad Elise DeBroeck, we were able to structure a very strong case,” captain Joe Mendoza said. “For the month heading up to the debate, we met twice a week to practice our examination questions and statements.”

Every member of the team was ranked at least once at the competition, and some ranked five out of eight times. Mendoza ranked every time, which led to his winning of the competition’s Outstanding Attorney Award.

“I’m humbled to have been the one to win it, but I can’t stress enough that it was a team effort,” Mendoza said. “Our team worked very well together, so it’s not my award. The team as a whole feels it’s a great indicator for how the rest of the year is going to go.”

The Outstanding Attorney Award is given to the competition’s top lawyer with strict qualifications.

Each team has three attorneys who provide opening and closing arguments and three witnesses who portray characters provided in the case. Everything else about the trial is exactly like a shortened version of a real trial, Mendoza said.

“We have presiding case law, opening and closing statements, questioning of witnesses and expert witnesses, as well as objections and the use of evidence,” he said.

The next competition is Nov. 20 and 21 at the University of Texas at Dallas. Mendoza said he credits much of the team’s success — and what he hopes will be future success to their sponsors and coach.

Open to students, the team will hold an information session at 6 p.m. today in the Pacific Room of the UC-Underground.

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