Queensborough’s Mock Trial Team Edges Tufts University to Win the Spirit of AMTA Award and Ties West Point in a Trial Round of the AMTA Regional TournamentPublished: February 11, 2016
Competing in the American Mock Trial Regional Tournament at the John P. Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip New York, Queensborough’s Mock Trial Team edged Tufts University to break a tie for the Spirit of the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Award. The event was hosted by the Suffolk Academy of Law on February 6 and 7.
The AMTA award is presented to the team that best exemplifies the ideals of honesty, civility and fair play, and is awarded based on ranks given to each team by their opponents. This year, Queensborough and Tufts University both received 28 out of a maximum 30 ranks. In addition, in the final round of the Central Islip Regional, Queensborough tied with the United States Military Academy at West Point in a trial round at AMTA. In prior rounds of the four-round tournament, Queensborough’s team competed against Siena College, the United States Coast Guard Academy and King’s College.
From Left: Monique Webb, Tyler Gooding, Norris Johns, Ricky Panayoty, Jamal Cox, Sarai Flores, A. Glenn Sanford and Nandanie Umadas
Elaine Thompson, a faculty member in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts and one of the team’s two current faculty advisors/coaches, noted that, “Through their participation in the tournament our students gain experience in public speaking, and, as a result, increase their self-confidence and poise.” She also pointed out that the competition instills good habits in students by helping them “develop the assurance that they can take on a challenging activity and see it through to its completion.”
Professor Ted Rosen, also of the Department of Business and a faculty advisor/coach of the team, emphasized Queensborough’s unique position at the event, proudly stating that, “Of the 21 colleges and universities in the AMTA Central Islip Regional, Queensborough was the only two-year college.
In fact, of the over 350 colleges and universities competing nationwide in the AMTA Tournament, there are approximately four two-year colleges, including Queensborough. "In the nine years that our team has participated in the regional AMTA tournament, we have never competed against another two-year college.”
During the event, competing students try the same case and take on roles as witnesses and as lawyers. “Students present opening and closing statements, engage in direct and cross-examinations, and argue for and against the introduction of items into evidence,” remarked Professor Rosen. “Students acting as witnesses study factual affidavits and other material in preparation for undergoing direct cross-examination, and seek to make their characters come alive with personality and distinctive characteristics.” All students are scored by volunteer “judges”, most of whom are practicing attorneys.
There are approximately 600 teams from the more than 350 colleges and universities competing in the AMTA tournament this year, involving over 5,300 undergraduate students in the mock trial competitions.
Also competing in the Central Islip Regional were teams from Brown University, Columbia University, Monroe College, Fordham University, St. John’s University, College of the Holy Cross, Boston University, Brandeis University, Farleigh Dickinson University, Boston College, The City College of New York (CUNY), University at Albany and New York University.
The students who are members of the current QCC Mock Trial Team are: Jamal Cox, Sarai Flores, Tyler Gooding, Ricky Panayoty, A. Glenn Sanford, Nandanie Umadas, Monique Webb and the President of the Queensborough Mock Trial Association, Norris Johns.
This year’s fictitious case is a criminal commercial bribery case. “Avery Bancroft,” the owner of a casino is accused of paying “Chase Covington,” the Chairman of the fictitious Midlands State Gambling Commission $250,000.00 so that he would cast his decisive vote in favor of issuing a license for a second casino to Bancroft. Covington argues no bribe took place while Bancroft asserts the defense of entrapment. There are ten potential witnesses including an undercover police detective, employees of the casino owned by Bancroft, experts in forensic science, linguistics and police undercover operations and the defendants themselves. In the Regional Tournament, each team must try the case four times, twice from the prosecution side and twice from the defense.