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Mock Trial and visual disabilities

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  • Mock Trial and visual disabilities

    I heard last year that a team had a student who was blind. If someone who was on that team in particular could respond, it would probably be helpful.

    This year we have a student with a visual impairment on our program. We're currently attempting to obtain a copy of the case in Braille -- shouldn't be too hard once our disability services center purchases a Braille printer. The harder part is trying to figure out how to work with this issue during competition. For instance, what's the best way to handle something like an impeachment if this student is an attorney and needs to challenge a witness with an affidavit printed in ink? What about demonstrative use?

    We've come up with several ideals already, but I'm wondering if anyone else has ideas or solutions of their own, both theoretical and those they've seen in practice. Does AMTA have any rules or guidelines concerning disabilities?

  • #2
    Re: Mock Trial and visual disabilities


    From the AMTA Rulebook


    Rule 7.10 Supplementary rules for visually impaired student participants.
    (1) PRESUMPTION. Witnesses are presumed to have been sighted at the time of the events described in their affidavit.
    (2) ASSISTANCE PERMITTED. When direct examination or cross examination of a visually impaired witness involves the use of exhibits, affidavits, or other written material, the witness may be assisted by another team member, including but not limited to identifying for the witness an exhibit or affidavit for which authentication has been requested and reading aloud to the witness from the portion of written material that the examining attorney has made the subject of a question. The assisting team member may not otherwise address the witness, examining attorney, or the court.


    I saw a guy from Bowling Green who was blind. He was an attorney and very effective. I'm sure it takes more preparation but it can be done.



    "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?"

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    • #3
      Re: Mock Trial and visual disabilities

      The attorney from Bowling Green was pretty good. When he impeached a witness he had his co-counsel read the lines for him. Furman also had a stellar witness that was blind. He was one of the best witnesses we saw a couple years ago. I don't know any other programs that have had a blind person, but I know those two definitely might be able to give you some help/advice.

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      • #4
        Re: Mock Trial and visual disabilities

        I'm assuming the furman witness that you're referring to is the same that competed last year. He was a witness on one side and an attorney on the other, so both roles are certainly feasible.

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        • #5
          Re: Mock Trial and visual disabilities

          I can remember judging a legally blind mocker not that long ago who was a witness. I have to say he was an outstanding witness and he went on to win numerous witness awards.

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          • #6
            Re: Mock Trial and visual disabilities

            I judged the Furman mocker who was playing Dr. Montana at the time...i'm sure than H-N would be willing to point you in the direction of some resources if you contacted him.
            It's all about the U.

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            • #7
              Re: Mock Trial and visual disabilities

              I went up against Furman's visually impaired attorney last year, and they had the other attorneys help a lot (positioning him for cross, setting up demonstratives, etc.). Regardless, it was still a stellar performance, and he scored well. Side note: he was also a really great and friendly guy after the round.

              ...I did feel a bit awkward the day after when I realized I was crossing his witness (Hunter Baxamusa) on how little the witness saw that night... :confused:

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