KSU to Host Regional Mock Trial Tournament

On Feb. 24 and 25, KSU will host the Dr. Helen S. Ridley Regional Mock Trial Tournament for the second consecutive year.

Twenty-six teams, hailing from seven states and many universities including Emory, Duke, Mercer, KSU and others, will compete against each other in the competition. KSU alumni and past mock trial coach Katherine Knudsen said the program helps teach students about evidence and procedure, in a mock setting.

“Teams present a fictional case from beginning to end,” Knudsen said. “The students are scored based upon their persuasive skills during opening statements and closing arguments, their ability to present and handle evidentiary objections throughout the trial, and their ability to think quickly on their feet while directing and crossing witnesses.”

KSU was selected by he American Mock Trial Association as a location for the competition, where teams will compete against each other for the chance to proceed to the National Championship Opening Round and possibly move on to the AMTA National Championship in Minneapolis, MN.

Knudsen said she is helping Associate Professor of Political Science, pre-law advisor and mock trial team coach Dr. Elizabeth Gordon, and Assistant Professor of Political Science and tournament director and coach Dr. William Gillespie, with logistics this year.

“My function during the competition will be to judge rounds and help where I am needed,” Knudsen said.

Knudsen said this year’s case involves a hypothetical murder charge in the state of “Midlands,” a mythical, Midwestern jurisdiction, which follows a modified version of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Knudsen said she helps the team with legal questions, strategy, evidentiary issues, or whenever she is called. Knudsen said her mock trial experience as a student helped prepare her for law school.

“I’ve been involved with mock trial since I was a freshman in high school, so right around 14 years,” said Knudsen. “I’ve always enjoyed mock trial.  It’s tough intellectual competition.”

Knudsen said the mock trial team is selected from POLS 4466, the trial evidence and procedure class, so students are instructed on trial procedure and evidence before competing in mock trials.

The tournament is expected to run tentatively from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25. The competition is being held primarily in the Social Science building on campus. For more information, contact Katherine Knudsen at kknudsen7@gmail.com. KSU’s Mock Trial Facebook page can be found under, “Kennesaw State University: Mock Trial,” or on Twitter, “@ksumocktrial.”

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