Civil Engineering Major Will Make His Case at Mock Trial National Championship

April 11, 2017


Garrett Rutherford (on far left), a civil engineering student, is on Cal Poly’s A Team, which will be competing at the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament in Los Angeles on April 21-23. This is the first time Cal Poly has earned a spot in the prestigious national tournament.

More than 600 teams competed in this year's AMTA competitions. Cal Poly’s A Team is now one of only 48 teams in the nation that will compete at the championship level — the final round of the AMTA's annual national tournament structure.

In addition to Rutherford (Girdwood, Alaska), other team members are political science students Deeksha Kohli (San Jose), Zackery Michaelson (Visalia) and Jesse Quiroz (Orange); business student Chloe Loomer (Los Gatos); and mathematics student Rod Rahimi (San Luis Obispo).

Under the direction of Justin Cooley, a lecturer in Cal Poly's Political Science Department, 32 students from across the university participated in Mock Trial during the 2016-17 season. The teams competed in five invitational tournaments and two scrimmages, including their first invitational outside of the state of California. Three teams competed in two regional tournaments; one at the Pomona/Claremont McKenna Colleges and one at Arizona State.

Every year, AMTA publishes a fictitious legal case, and teams from across the country argue the case in front of real judges. Universities field teams that compete during rounds that last about three hours, during which one college represents the prosecution and the other represents the defense.



- American Mock Trail Association (AMTA):

Photo informationMockTrial_ATeam.jpg: Cal Poly Mock Trial A Team members from left to right: Garrett Rutherford, Jesse Quiroz, Rod Rahimi, Deeksha Kohli, Zackery Michaelson and Chloe Loomer. Photo by Mock Trial Coach Justin Cooley.


About Cal Poly Mock Trial

Cal Poly Mock Trial was started in 2006 by a student in political science. Over the past 10 years, the program has involved more than 100 students from across all the colleges and is one of the most successful embodiments of the Learn by Doing philosophy in Political Science. Students prepare for these tournaments by learning about case law, statutes, affidavits and the rules of evidence, which are largely identical to the Federal Rules of Evidence. They do this by enrolling in POLS 295, Foundations of Mock Trial, and POLS 395, Advanced Mock Trial, and by participating in the Mock Trial Club. 


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