Shawn Olstein ’22
The Trinity College Mock Trial team won first place out of fourteen teams competing at Saint Bonaventure University this weekend. Additionally, team members took home several individual prizes. Olivia Louthen ’22 received an award for outstanding Lawyer, and Keji Oladinni ’21 and Reagan Flynn ’23 received awards for outstanding witnesses. Each day of the tournament consisted of two trials, one beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the other at 2:00 p.m. Each trial had two judges, each of which would score the teams and determine a winner by awarding them a ballot. Trinity’s prosecution and defense went to trial once a day either in the morning or afternoon.
Of the eight total ballots available, Trinity won six, lost one, and tied one. The prosecution consisted of three lawyers: John Lawson ’20, Shawn Olstein ’22, and Jack Stone ’22, along with three witnesses: Flynn, Louthen, and Oladinni. The defense lawyers were Hannah Kessel ’22, Louthen, and Allison Rau ’23, along with Olstein, Oladinni, and Flynn as witnesses. Trinity’s Mock Trial team hopes to continue its momentum into the Yale regional competition the weekend of Feb. 16 and 17.
In response to the team’s victory, coach Glenn Falk of the Public Policy department stated that “It says a lot about this team that students won awards in both lawyer and witness categories, and the team ranges from first years to seniors. Everyone was essential for the result. All the practice and dedication paid off.” First year Attorney Rau told the Tripod, “I really wanted to turn up the heat for this competition, and it clearly paid off. ”
The court case used for the tournament is the fictional Ryder v. Midlands. Jordan Ryder, played by Flynn, stands accused of being responsible for the death of her daughter Parker Paige on a camping trip. The trial consists of a host of characters including a detective played by Oladinni, a hiker played by Louthen, a social worker played by Oladinni, and two Doctors played by Flynn and Olstein. The prosecution is given the choice to charge the defendant with either murder or manslaughter – Trinity’s prosecution chose to prosecute a charge of murder, arguing the defendant pushed her daughter off a cliff with a hiking staff. Trinity’s defense argues the death of the daughter was accidental as the girl had a severe form of osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic bone disease commonly known as brittle bone disease.