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Is Hunter Cooper an effective Witness?

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  • Is Hunter Cooper an effective Witness?

    Our team is currently in debate as to changing our call order post case changes. With Remy Hollis and McCoy both in much worse states now, the thought has crossed of a potential Hunter Cooper Defense call.

    Obviously no one wants to give out their teams case strategies before Regionals, but I am just curious as to whether or not this witness can be played in a way that is not inherently off putting to Judges and if anyone has seen any good portrayals throughout Invitationals.

    During Invitational Season, our team ran into a Defense Cooper, and myself (the crossing attorney) was able to clearly paint him as being a creepy stalker, who was in direct violation of his restraining order on the day of the incident, showing a character for untruthfulness. The judge even commented suggesting that the other team not call Cooper anymore due to his character concerns.

    The restraining order in particular seems damning, I was able to get it in but I'm not sure how consistently one could submit it, due to character evidence and hearsay objections.

    Has anyone seen any effective portrayals of this witness? How did judges react to him? And how likely is it that you can keep the restraining order out?

  • #2
    My team called a defense cooper that won a witness award so it depends on how you play them

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    • #3
      My team also called a Defense Cooper that ran succesfully at our last tournament. It won a witness award, and defense went 3-0-1. This includes when the restraining order came in during one of the rounds. Itís hard for a plaintiff to argue a character for truthfulness if you bring out a lot of the pro-grace bias on direct. Itís a fine line, and we havenít explored it since the case changes yet but it was effective that weekend.

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      • #4
        I think this is, unfortunately, a place where gender matters. I'm not saying its impossible to play a male Cooper, but I think there are a lot of judges who are going to find it really really hard to like a male Cooper who stalked a female Grace. Just on first impression (and again, I'm not saying there aren't ways to get around this), female Cooper tends to come off as super fangirl and male Cooper tends to come off as creepy stalker, and the latter is far more likely to get an instant bad response from a judge.

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        • #5
          our defense cooper who won an award was male. We also had a male plaintiff cooper who won an award

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          • #6
            For context, it is true that our Cooper was female, and I think her pleasant personality contributed to the success of minimizing the bad facts.

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            • #7
              I've generally heard mixed things regarding Hunter Cooper, lending to the impression that in most instances, the facts around them lead them to being a witness that scores less-consistently than other witnesses. That being said, to mitigate this inconsistency one would need a very clear strategy for how to deal with their bad facts, with different theories and backstories that can at least downplay such might help. Ultimately, whomever plays Cooper needs to be very well prepared for cross-examination, to the point where you might want to place one of you better witnesses in that role if it's going to be a regionals call.

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              • #8
                Generally it seems that Cooper is a divisive character that can be played rather well. I see it as a better defense witness than a plaintiff witness because of the bias, however there is the line that Cooper overhears from Kosack saying they never should have been so far away during the show. For a team that doesn't want to call Grace for some reason (Personnel, etc.) a call of Clark or Villafana (with the new facts about seeing Kosack), Cooper, and Hawkins could be rather effective at proving the bad training. I think this, just like any other witness, comes down to how well you can play it and how palatable one of your witnesses can make it. If it contributes anything to the conversation, it would seem even the top programs are, at the least, exploring this option. A recent episode of the mock review podcast insinuated (with the subtlety of a sledge hammer) that Yale had done it very well in a trial one of them had seen.

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