Mock Trial team wins 2012 Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition

From left: Richard Stannard III, Maura Crossin, Michael Bivona and James Fraguela. Photo courtesy of Genna Goldner
From left: Richard Stannard III, Maura Crossin, Michael Bivona and James Fraguela. Photo courtesy of Genna Goldner
Nov. 5, 2012 - The School of Law's Mock Trial Team triumphed over a national field of competitors to win the 2012 Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition.

Eight law schools competed in the 13th annual contest sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and the School of Law. The competition, held Oct. 28 in the School of Law Center, was founded in 2000 and draws teams from around the country.

Members of Quinnipiac's winning team included third-year law students Michael Bivona, Maura Crossin, James Fraguela and Richard Stannard III. Bivona also won honors as the Best Overall Advocate. They were coached by Sean McGuinness JD '09 and Ryan O'Neill JD '08.

"Competitions such as ours offer a first class opportunity for students to put a case together from start to finish, using all they have learned about trial practice, the rules of evidence, and criminal procedure," said Elizabeth Marsh, professor of law and faculty director of the competition.

Other teams included Barry University, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law (returning champion); Brooklyn Law Center; Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law; Drexel University, Earle Mack School of Law; Fordham University School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center; and University of Illinois School of Law.

During the event, each team tried the case twice at the United States District Courthouse in New Haven, once as the prosecution and once as the defense. 

Third-year law student Freesia Singngam drafted this year's problem--a domestic dispute that ended in the death of a spouse upon the discovery of an adulterous affair. The defense had the choice of arguing self-defense, suggesting the defendant's lover had dealt the fatal blow, or pointing a finger at the defendant's teenage child, who had both motive and opportunity to kill the victim. 

"The problem requires students to make connections between theory and practice. That alone would be a good reason to conduct this competition," Marsh said.

"The competition offers more, however. The generous help of the bench and bar in our area to judge the students and to offer detailed critiques from different perspectives offers an invaluable experience that will carry on with the student when he or she enters practice."