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Case Changes

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  • Case Changes

    Interested to hear what everyone thinks about the new case changes. Seems like a lot of people online were upset about how much they hurt the defense, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. The defense always increases its advantage as the season wears on, and we don't want another year like last year where there was a huge d bias even after case changes. Seems to me like AMTA is trying to get ahead of that and prevent things from being too biased towards defense like they have been in the past.

  • #2
    I am a pretty huge fan of these case changes.

    Unlike everyone in mock trial memes, I don't think the defense is ~that~ screwed. I think they still have good ways to present direct and proximate cause and even with the additional baggage Kosack has the potential to be a helpful and likable witness and the reach is still really damning. Defense will need to work on clarifying their presentation to show why all of the Kosack shit doesn't matter for cause but I think that will ultimately make for better mock trial.

    I like that they didn't completely nerf the reach but made it more dependent on witness call (I always felt like having both Hollis and McClellan see the reach made defenses life too easy by giving them a non contestable cross line that looked really good for two major witnesses). My only concern is if the reach is still too strong on defense and will keep defense bias in the picture through regionals.

    I also like that they gave plaintiff more ways to argue negligence than just the Hawkins insufficient training angle. I've enjoyed having multiple options for how to approach defense and it's nice to have it for plaintiff too. Additionally, I really like the additions to Harper and Clark, which I think will open up the dramatic range of trials.

    I'm intrigued by the addition of the material on the cat side of things which seems to be discouraged with case changes but the idea of hunter cooper running around in an orange sweater under the bleachers is good. Also Chris deciding to wake and bake before the show is hilarious and tragic.

    My one complaint would be the lack of new exhibits but overall I like a lot of new directions offered by case changes and I think it will open up the potential for some really fun mocking this winter.


    • #3
      I have to Agree with Ali Thomas. I think the reactions seen in MTC and the meme group are mainly newer competitors who lack experience with case changes in previous years.

      AMTA certainly stepped out on a limb with some case changes that will dramatically impact the way teams try this case, but I think it was a needed and intelligent move. There has been a strong lack of variety among case theories this year. Even in years where dominant case theories emerge, there are always some teams who are able to come up with out of the box cases. This year, however, I haven't seen it. I think the case changes 1 - will prevent what probably would have escalated into a severe defense bias come Regionals and ORCS, and 2 - will make each trial more unique.

      I am surprised that McCoy was not made into a more viable witness for the defense, though I will concede that after last year it seems that almost any purported expert can be made viable by a good enough competitor. I also think AMTA needs to come up with a few more tricks, as some things have become very repetitive in the last few years (one party having a large financial incentive to commit the offense, one party having a quasi admission of guilt/liability accompanied with stipulations about automatic admittance), lets give these a break for a couple of years and try something new (or very old and forgotten!).

      One of the great things about case changes, in my opinion, is that it provides a reward to teams who are able to be flexible and creative with their case theory, which is a trait that deserves reward. I can't wait to see what people develop over a holiday break with lots of time to think and discuss.


      • #4
        STC I think there's a reason for McCoy (and longfellow last year) to be written weakly. I think what you said about a good witness being able to play even the shittiest expert well is super true. I also know from either Johnathan Woodward or Alex Bluebond's ama on here that defense experts have a huge scoring advantage (for a whole number of reasons). I think that's why relatively extreme measures have to be taken there but I'd love to hear other's thoughts. Personally, even with changes I feel like you can get McCoy to do the work you need them to, especially if someone on your team can perform well as a witness.


        • #5
          Ali Thomas Experts in general definitely have a scoring advantage and defense experts even more so. I think it can be viewed through a burden of proof lens. Plaintiff/Prosecution experts typically have a burden to prove some kind of claim (e.g. Elias's training was insufficient), defense experts only need to poke holes in that claim. That's the dynamic in this case certainly, while McCoy could be used offensively against MTS, its clear that's not McCoy's primary purpose, especially when there are so many other witnesses that could attack MTS.

          The only expert in my memory that was just unsalvageable was Logan Bashir from 2015-16 (I think that's the right year). But if my memory serves me right that's an example of this dynamic because Bashir wasn't used to rebut a plaintiff expert, he was used to offensively attack the credibility of plaintiff eye witnesses. I'll never forget a witness at ORCS that year being recognized for achieving 14 ranks as Bashir because it was the highest ranked Bashir the AMTA reps were aware of at any ORCS. Of course that's what happens when the expert "facts and data" consists of opinion statements from the defense attorneys.


          • #6
            STC I get what you mean, McCoy works much more effectively as a rebuttal expert than as a witness that can attack MTS and show negligence on their part. With that said, though, I don't quite understand why McCoy's July 16th report, the one where Hawkins isn't called, is significantly weaker than the July 13th Report. It would make more sense for McCoy to make concessions about Kosack's responsibility should Hawkins be called because rebuttal experts tend to score higher, if just because they are allowed to dismantle the work of another expert witness. It may be that AMTA wants McCoy not to be called if Hawkins isn't present, but if that's the case, then they might as well force McCoy as a rebuttal witness like in State V Hendricks. I know it may have to do with the fear that there isn't enough material in the 16th report to write a cross, but even looking at the report pre-case changes, McCoy definitely had some easy and obvious cross points.


            • #7
              I think these case changes are overall going to be great in giving each trial its own unique feel. Case changes are like the introduction of the exo-suit in more recent Call of Duty games... they widen the skill gap between bad and good teams and help to differentiate between the good and great.

              Im not sure I understand a valid reason to essentially buff Hawkins (in relation to McCoy) given that Hawkins is being called 95% on plaintiff. If the goal of case changes was to create a wide array of viable call orders it seems like the plaintiff side would have been thrown into dissarsy by a Hawkins nerf. It was a clever idea to destroy the non-Hawkins McCoy report because it forces McCoy teams to have a backup for when a team chooses to not call Hawkins. I think we can all agree that villafana needed a buff and these case changes certainly achieved that and will make the witness a lot more popular especially among the plaintiff side.

              If a goal was to make Danny Kosack less popular then mission accomplished for sure AMTA.


              • #8
                I'm also intrigued by the move of giving plaintiff the option of treating Alex Grace as an unavailable witness. I think that will give some teams the breathing room to experiment with a non alex grace call that could yield an interesting combo of evidence. I personally find rounds without the big witnesses to be a good test for how adaptive a team can be if they can perform their case well without relying on their party cross.


                • #9
                  I honestly wish they had hit the defense a little harder on the reach theory, though I understand why they decided to tie it more to witnesses instead, There will hopefully be some excellent new defense case theories, and I think they hit a good balance between making defense a tad weaker, livening up the defense overall, and straightening up the plaintiff. Very glad they didn't touch Alex Grace's deposition but did alter how easy or difficult is is to get some key testimony and exhibits into evidence. I am surprised at the lack of noise made over the new pretrial order; I think that in itself should be getting competitors thinking about the case from a totally different angle. I wish they had done a little bit less to McCoy, if for no other reason that public perception may have just doomed the witness to me a merely marginal call. They done did McCoy dirty


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mocker999 View Post
                    STC With that said, though, I don't quite understand why McCoy's July 16th report, the one where Hawkins isn't called, is significantly weaker than the July 13th Report.
                    My impression when reading these changes (in conjunction with the Hawkins changes) were that they were both intended to lower the Hawkins call rate. ~95% is astronomical. So, weakening the "No-Hawkins" McCoy opens up the idea of not calling Hawkins as being a strategy move (Forcing the other team to call a weakened expert that allows for a rather good cross score by the attorney). The weakening of the conclusion, to the point that McCoy is unable to say definitively whether MTS or DK were liable, allows for them to be summarily dismissed in closing arguments by a plaintiff attorney as giving conclusive evidence either way. The closings that follow (Assuming the jury is persuaded by the non-definitive argument) would then consist of 5 consequential witnesses (only 2 of which having been called by the defense).
                    Last edited by NoRedirectNecessary; December 9th, 2018, 05:40 PM.