Tell It to the JudgeGAMBIER, OHIO (December 4, 2008) In the end, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is a story about a man who was just doing his job."
I found myself standing in the center of a courtroom, wearing a suit and heels I could barely walk in, pleading to two judges to find the defendant, my client, not liable. How did I get there? I'm in my third year as a member of the Kenyon College Mock Trial Team, and we were at an intercollegiate competition at the Case Western Reserve University law school in Cleveland, Ohio, arguing a defamation case.
The case changes every year. This year, it focused on a television broadcast network, which ran a live story implicating a local politician in the murder of a university professor. Later, the police deemed the professor's death a suicide, but the damage had already been done. The politician, who had previously been substantially ahead in the polls, lost the election in a landslide. So the question is: Did the reporter who broke the story do a thorough investigation and simply report what the facts told him was the truth at the time in an unbiased manner? Or did he act with "actual malice," and report the story with reckless disregard for accuracy? Well, in mock trial we get to argue both sides.
This is the sixth year of competition for the Kenyon College Mock Trial Team. We stand out as one of the only teams in the country that is entirely student-run. And, after being founded by Eddie Rice '07 during his first year at Kenyon, the team has gone on to make it to three American Mock Trial Association national finals, and has won many individual best-attorney and best-witness awards.
We have been to two competitions this year, and came out with four wins, three losses, and a tie at the first, then four wins and four losses at the second. We are excited to continue competing at the regional tournament next semester, and we intend to return to the national finals. We are a competitive team, and we all share a love for logic and debate, but, in truth, our main goal is just to have fun doing mock trial. Our team is open to anyone who wants to join. I never would have expected to find myself arguing a hearsay objection, but I took a chance in joining mock trial, and I love that I ended up in a courtroom.
By Ellie Norton '10, of Cullowhee, North Carolina