Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Innocent till Proven Guilty Evansville Bar Association 'Argues' Mock Trial

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Innocent till Proven Guilty Evansville Bar Association 'Argues' Mock Trial

Article excerpt

Possibly more attorneys worked on the case being tried in U.S. District Court on Wednesday than any case ever tried there. Attorneys sat in the witness stands to be examined and cross- examined by other attorneys. In the benches of the audience gallery, dozens of local attorneys listened to the case unfold.

It was all part of a mock jury trial, elaborately staged in Evansville's federal courtroom as a learning exercise for lawyers, particularly young attorneys with limited trial experience.

Evansville Bar Association Director Susan Vollmer said the trial was based on a real lawsuit tried in U.S. District Court at Terre Haute, Ind., several years ago.

Lawyers pored over the original trial transcripts to accurately portray the courtroom testimony. A company was hired to select a pool of jurors from throughout the federal court district.

Chief Judge Richard L. Young, who presides over U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, presided over the original trial and lent his time to preside over Wednesday's exercise, too.

Young said the idea for the mock trial came from a committee of the Evansville Bar Association, which helped organize it.

"Young lawyers who are in civil litigation, they just don't have as much opportunity to try a jury trial as before," he said. Part of the reason, Young said, is the cost of trying cases has encouraged the resolution of more cases by arbitration or mediation. Fewer jury trials has meant fewer chances for attorneys to try them, especially younger ones.

"Many of the more experienced lawyers who have been around love to try jury trials. The older, more experienced lawyers often want to do it," he said.

On Wednesday, some of those more experienced lawyers, including Charlie Berger, Lane Siesky, Pat Shoulders and Cory Kuhlenschmidt, demonstrated their skills in "Anatomy of a Jury Trial. …

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