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Mock trial team at national competition

March 17, 2006

KALAMAZOO--For the fourth time in five years, a team from Western Michigan University has qualified to compete in the American Mock Trail Association's national tournament.

One of WMU's two mock trial teams will compete in the tournament this weekend, March 17-19, at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. Bids to the nationals were earned at 22 regional tournaments around the country.

Both WMU teams competed in the Notre Dame Regional Mock Trial Tournament Feb. 25-26 and were among 21 teams from 11 colleges and universities, including Ball State University, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University and the University of Notre Dame, that competed. Based on its performance at the regional event, one of WMU's teams was invited to join a field of 50 teams competing in the national tournament.

The team going to St. Paul had about two weeks to prepare for the national contest. In the contest, each team will try the case State of Midlands v. Tyler Perry four times--twice as prosecution and twice as defense. In the trial scenario, Perry is charged with kidnapping his boss' child. Following the abduction, the child was chained to a water pipe in the bathroom of a local hotel. The child was found in good condition three days after being taken from home. The sum of $300,000 sought by the kidnapper was not paid.

A number of witness affidavits were changed and two new witnesses were created for possible use at nationals. Some of the forensic evidence was also modified, so the national case is substantially different from the case tried at the regional tournaments.

The WMU team advisor is Dr. Peter Renstrom, professor of political science.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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