CUC Undefeated in Three Mock Trial Matches
BY CUC COMMUNICATION STAFF AND SANDRA BLACKMER, Adventist Review news editor
olumbia Union College (CUC) in Takoma Park, Maryland, was undefeated in three Mock Trial matches this season, the final victory coming over the University of Maryland’s top team.
CUC team captain Tyson Shaw was named best attorney for the third time this year, and Martin Nestares was named best witness. The judgment was rendered in CUC’s favor during the match on Sunday, March 18. The real-life case was played out before a judge. Both teams argued their side in a case of alleged police brutality.
The University of Maryland has four Mock Trial teams, and CUC defeated the group headed for the national championships, held April 13-15 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“We are happy we won and that all of our hard work paid off,” said Ellie Barker, a member of the team since 2004. Team members Barker, Nestares, Anthony Montalvo, Daniel Mackay, Sheri Campbell, and Shaw met several hours each week to practice.
|MOCK TRIAL TEAM: (Back row/from left): Coaches Joseph Wright and Lesley Zork, and advisor/sponsor Roy Branson. (Front row/from left): Team members Daniel Mackay, Ellie Barker, Sheri Campbell, Martin Nestares, Anthony Montalvo, and Tyson Shaw [Kevin Shaw]
CUC’s Mock Trial team successfully argued and won two mock cases in competitions earlier this year. In the first trial, the team won against the nationally recognized group at the University of Central Florida. Their second win came against the University of Redlands team in California.
“Our team has really jelled together, which has led to our success this year,” said Mackay, a senior Political Studies major. “We have learned so much about ourselves and the law this year with the help of our two outstanding coaches, Joseph Wright and Lesley Zork.”
Wright is assistant state’s attorney for Prince George’s County; Zork is an attorney in private practice.
“Because CUC is located just outside the nation’s capital, we are able to introduce the most winsome faces of Adventism to local, very prominent attorneys,” Roy Branson, director for The Center for Law and Public Policy, which sponsors the CUC team, told the Adventist Review. “Simultaneously, we introduce law students to the excitement and the hard work of public service.”
Branson explained that more than 200 U.S. colleges and universities participate in the competitions, which are organized by the American Mock Trial Association. The CUC team is unable to compete in all of them because many are held on Sabbath.
“This is the first time we have achieved this level of success,” Branson said.
Branson added that the experience a law student can gain at CUC because of internship possibilities at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and at other prominent legal organizations in the D.C. area looks very good on a résumé.
“Staff members of Congress become acquainted with our bright, articulate students,” he said, “and so the students have better job opportunities after graduation because of the connections they form during their internships.”
CUC has the only Mock Trial team in the denomination.