Queens DA Hosts 5th Annual Mock Trial Competition

 The law students on the University of Buffalo School of Law team stand with Administrative Judge of the Queens Criminal Division Hon. Joseph Zayas, Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney James C. Quinn, and Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan after winning the Queens County District Attorney Office 5th Annual Mock Trial Competition on October 28 in the Queens Criminal Courthouse in Kew Gardens.  Eagle  photo by Clarissa Sosin.

The law students on the University of Buffalo School of Law team stand with Administrative Judge of the Queens Criminal Division Hon. Joseph Zayas, Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney James C. Quinn, and Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan after winning the Queens County District Attorney Office 5th Annual Mock Trial Competition on October 28 in the Queens Criminal Courthouse in Kew Gardens. Eagle photo by Clarissa Sosin.

By Clarissa Sosin

At a quick glance the proceedings taking place on the third floor of the Queens Criminal Courthouse on Sunday morning looked like a regular trial. There was a judge, and a jury. At one table sat the prosecutors. At the other table sat the defense attorneys and their client. Witnesses took the stand. Evidence was entered into the record. Objections were made, denied, and sustained while the lawyers argued their cases over whether or not the defendant was guilty of entering his ex-girlfriend’s home, cutting up her clothing, and holding a butchers knife to her neck.

But, despite it’s appearances, this wasn’t a normal trial. When the judge scolded the jury for having arrived late that morning, they laughed openly at the reprimand. There was no court reporter typing in the corner. There were no court officers standing guard. Outside the courtroom, the normally bustling hallways of the courthouse were empty, the front doors of the building locked.

The proceedings were part of a mock trial; the final in the Queens County District Attorney’s 5th Annual Mock Trial Competition, a two day competition hosted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office. As part of the competition, law students from around the country tried a criminal case in front of sitting Supreme Court and Criminal Court judges.

“It’s just like a regular trial,” said Judge Gregory L. Lasak who recently stepped down from his post to run for district attorney and who volunteered to preside over one of the trials. “It's refreshing to see, you know, such competency at such an early stage they’re still in school.”

The students act as the defense, the prosecution and the witnesses and probationary police officers from the police academy sit on the jury. Real judges volunteer their time to preside over the proceedings and working lawyers sit in on the trial, taking notes and evaluating the students.

Sixteen schools participated in the competition. Fordham University School of Law and the University of Buffalo School of Law faced off in the finals with the students from Buffalo ultimately taking first.

“This annual event is more than a robust competition with legal arguments. It is a unique setting for soon-to-be lawyers to hone their skills inside real courtrooms and provides a hands-on learning experience for the New York City Police Department recruits, who serve as jurors during the two day mock trials. Based on the positive feedback, this year’s competition was a resounding success,” said Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

James C. Quinn, Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney at the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the main organizer of the competition said that mock trials are a great way for student lawyers to get hands on experience in a courtroom.

“They learn so much more at the mock trials,” Quinn said. “Especially this one because they’re up in front of real judges and they have to make, you know, cogent arguments on the law”

And the students agreed. Sarah Elardo, 24, was a prosecutor for Buffalo in the finals. She said that students who don’t take advantage of mock trial competitions are missing out on a great opportunity.

“You can't get this experience like from sitting in a classroom or reading a textbook,” said Elardo, who also won Best Overall Advocate.

 The team from the University of Buffalo School of Law celebrates winning the Queens County District Attorney Office 5th Annual Mock Trial Competition.

The team from the University of Buffalo School of Law celebrates winning the Queens County District Attorney Office 5th Annual Mock Trial Competition.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.

The case they argued was based off of a real case tried in Queens said Kevin Duddy, the Director of Trial Advocacy for the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the person who designed the material. Duddy said that he condensed the true crime so it could be tried in three hours and changed some of the details, such as adding in a complication with the assigned detective’s credibility, to see how well they are following the legal issues of the day.

“Most of it is about their skills, you know, are they good advocates. But at the same time, we want to let them know, things that are topical things that are out there,” he said.

The competition is also a recruiting tool for new Assistant District Attorneys. Each year the office hires a few talented young lawyers from the competition said Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan. Each year he’s impressed with the students who participate Ryan said. In particular, he said he’s impressed and fascinated by the fact that every single one of them memorizes their opening statements.

“We’ll tell them later that’s not necessarily how it’ll work in the real world,” he said.