Letter of Participation

Dear Members of the Legal Community:

I write to solicit your assistance in judging at the Carol N. Ney National Mock Trial Tournament, Friday-Sunday, 21-23 March 2014.   This is the sixth year that Furman has been selected by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) as one of eight locations to host opening rounds of the national championship tournament.  Each of the 25 regional tournaments will advance seven teams to an opening round championship site.  Six teams will qualify from the Furman site to the national championship final, which will take place in Orlando, FL, 11-13 April.  The Ney National will host the teams advancing from the regional tournaments in Chapel Hill, NC, Atlanta, GA, and Richmond, VA.  We have received the honor of hosting a national-level event in large part because of you—the many judges who regularly take part in the event—as well as the major financial support of Furman alumni Jim and Carol Ney, the tournament’s signature sponsors.

This year’s case is a criminal matter.  On August 30, 2012, a robbery occurred at RacheterWorld (pronounced ROCK-ter) Amusement Park in Midlands.  Following the robbery, a chase ensued and a former police officer and current RacheterWorld security guard, Winston Thomas, was struck by the front car of the “Tunnel of Terror” ride.  Thomas suffered serious injuries and went into a coma in which he remains on the date of the trial.

The robber whom Thomas was chasing through the park escaped and remains at large, his whereabouts unknown.  Police, however, have arrested Whit Bowman, a park employee, whom they believe took part in the commission of the crime.  Bowman faces multiple charges related to the August 30 incident and related alleged criminal activities.

As with all mock trial cases, there are many twists and turns for the students to negotiate.  Depending on the trial you evaluate, you will see various witness lineups, including but not limited to, the owner of RacheterWorld, bookkeeper, mascot, or detective.

All cases take place in Midlands, a mythical Midwestern jurisdiction.  In addition to seeing an interesting case being argued, you will also witness very good teams testing their mettle against each other. The teams qualifying for the Ney National will be among the top 1/3 of all teams nationally; over 600 teams compete in the regional tournaments, with 192 teams advancing to the opening rounds of the national championship.  All teams want to make the finals in Orlando, so they will bring their “A” game to Greenville in March.

Twenty-four teams will be assigned to the Furman site. Therefore, I must recruit 144 members of the Bar to score and preside at the trials.  We would be most honored if you would judge at this event.  The tournament’s four rounds are scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, 21 March; at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, 22 March; and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, 23 March.  All mock trial judges will receive a brief orientation to the case and the rules of the competition before each trial.  The 2014 tournament will be staged on Furman’s campus.

You will be paired with at least one other attorney or judge and then watch a trial lasting approximately three hours.  Judges usually provide a brief critique of the trial after submitting scoring sheets.  The total time commitment (including the orientation session) for each round is four hours.  Meals will be provided prior to each round.  There will also be a church service at the Charles E. Daniel Memorial Chapel prior to the judges meeting and orientation on Sunday morning, 23 March.

This year, we will offer a CLE event on Friday, 21 March from 12:30-1:30pm.  Lunch will be provided, and Bar members will receive a discount if they register to judge.  More details will follow.  Also, included with this letter are new sponsorship opportunities for the 2014 tournament.    If you have questions, please email Liz Seman, Furman’s Executive Director of Corporate Engagement, at liz.seman@furman.edu.

To register as a judge, go to http://www.furmanmocktrial.org/ney-tournament.  Once you have accessed the tournament site, click on the link, which will take you to the registration form. If you would rather speak to someone involved with the tournament, contact the political science department assistant, Paige Blankenship, at (864) 294-3547, and she will assist you.  We would greatly appreciate receiving your response by Friday, 14 February 2014.  You can also contact me via e-mail at <glen.halva-neubauer@furman.edu>.

Once your registration has been received, you will be sent a confirmation notice electronically.  In February, we will notify you electronically of the specific round(s) to which you have been assigned.  I appreciate your willingness to consider supporting Furman University in this fashion.



Glen A. Halva-Neubauer

Dana Professor of Political Science

Director, Mock Trial and Public Service Internship Programs