June 17, 2004

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Contact: Ryan Faulconer, KU Mock Trial, (719) 661-0819.

KU mock trial gold team places 13th at national championship tournament

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas mock trial gold team had the most successful year in its seven-year history by tying for 13th place at the American Mock Trial Association National Championship, held during the spring semester in Des Moines, Iowa.

For the sixth time, KU's gold team qualified for the national tournament with 64 teams from more than 50 schools. One KU gold team member was honored for an outstanding performance that designated him as one of the top 15 college mock trial witnesses in the country. Andrew Payne, Garden City freshman in pre-law and political science, received an All-American Witness Award for his portrayal of John Baptist, a hockey referee.

Ryan Faulconer, Colorado Springs, Colo., senior in political science, is the gold team captain. Other members, in addition to Payne, are Danielle Davey, Shawnee junior in political science and psychology; Chris Kaiser, Overland Park senior in biology and biochemistry; Shandy Soleimani, Olathe junior in political science; and Tai Vokins, Olathe sophomore in political science. Branden Bell, Lawrence second-year law student, coaches the mock trial teams.

The team finished the season with an overall record of 84-38-6 and garnered overall first-place finishes at the Mid-Missouri Invitational, Columbia, Mo.; Loras College National Invitational, Dubuque, Iowa; and the regional championship in Topeka. Additionally, the team ended up with eight top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes.

The KU mock trial program comprises two teams: a gold team of more experienced students and a silver team of first-year participants. In addition to the accomplishments of the gold team, the KU silver team tied for sixth place at national competition events held during the spring semester in St. Petersburg, Fla. Margaret Lubberts, Olathe freshman in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Mustafa Quadri, Overland Park sophomore in pre-law, are captains of the silver team that also includes Kaleigh Bassett, Bethalto, Ill., freshman in history and political science; Amber Golden, Ottawa freshman in communication studies and political science; Michael Minea, Colleyville, Texas, junior in computer engineering; Angela Raab, Shawnee sophomore in international studies and political science; and Shea Suther, Onaga junior in pre-law, psychology and sociology.

In a mock trial competition, undergraduates compete in a three-hour mini-trial, playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses. Points are awarded based on the students' performances of their roles. The case being tried is determined at the start of each season. Teams receive facts, evidence and witness testimony, from which they construct their arguments. They prepare opening statements, closing statements, and direct and cross-examinations of witnesses.

The lawyers at the mock trials require a combination of facts and evidence to be presented, a firm grasp of the law as it applies to the case and a strong understanding of trial procedure. Witnesses must know the facts of the case and be able to answer questions naturally despite their frequent rehearsals. The "judges" and "jury" score the team participants on their performance. The opening statement, closing statement, and direct and cross-examinations all are scored. The actual verdict of the trial is not decided and does not affect the scoring.

Faulconer is president of the mock trial program and Davey is vice president. Stephen McAllister, KU dean of law, is the faculty adviser. Program sponsors include Chancellor Robert Hemenway, KU School of Law, Student Senate, Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a Kansas City, Mo., law firm.

KU students participating in the mock trial program are listed below by name, hometown, major, parents' names (if available), high school, team designation, team office held and tournament competition awards:

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence
Branden Bell, second-year law student; Broken Arrow, Okla., High School; mock trial program coach.

FINNEY COUNTY
From Garden City
Andrew Payne, freshman in pre-law and political science, son of Ann Payne; Garden City High School; gold team; All-American Witness Award winner.

FRANKLIN COUNTY
From Ottawa
Amber Golden, freshman in communication studies and political science, daughter of Paul and Deborah Golden; Ottawa High School; silver team; outstanding attorney at silver national championship.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Olathe
Margaret Lubberts, freshman in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; daughter of Albert Lubberts; Olathe South High School; silver team co-captain and mock trial program vice president-elect; four tournament competition awards, including two outstanding attorney awards and two outstanding witness awards.
Shandy Soleimani, junior in political science, son of Massoud and Sheila Soleimani; Olathe South High School; gold team; outstanding attorney award.
Tai Vokins, sophomore in political science; Shawnee Mission South High School; gold team; outstanding witness award.

From Overland Park
Chris Kaiser, senior in biology and biochemistry, son of John and Laura Kaiser; Shawnee Mission South High School; gold team; five tournament competition awards, including four outstanding witness awards and one outstanding attorney award.
Mustafa Quadri, sophomore in pre-law, son of Shahid and Munazza Quadri; Shawnee Mission South High School; silver team co-captain.

From Shawnee
Danielle Davey, junior in psychology and political science, daughter of Vickie Miller; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; gold team; 2003-04 vice president.
Angela Raab, sophomore in international studies and political science; daughter of Gil and Lil Carlon; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; silver team; 2004-05 treasurer.

POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY
From Onaga
Shea Suther, junior in pre-law, psychology and sociology, daughter of Steve and Anne Suther; Mount St. Scholastica Academy, Atchison; silver team member.

COLORADO
From Colorado Springs
Ryan Faulconer, senior in political science, son of Forrest and Maria Faulconer; Cheyenne Mountain High School; gold team captain and program president for 2003-04 and 2004-05; four outstanding attorney awards and an outstanding witness award.

ILLINOIS
From Bethalto
Kaleigh Bassett, freshman in history and political science, daughter of Lynn Bassett; Civic Memorial High School; silver team member.

TEXAS
From Colleyville
Michael Minea, junior in computer engineering, son of Richard and Debra Minea; Grapevine Senior High School; silver team member; 2004-05 Web master.

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