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  • #46
    Especially overviewing the sanctions from this year, Yale's case theory really seems egregious. I really hope that AMTA actually addresses this situation, as Yale just live-streamed, in front of the whole AMTA world, that recanting an affidavit is an acceptable way to become national champions. So, I imagine, next year we will see more and more teams pushing to the point of egregious invention. Not just creative theories and interpretations, which have always been the key to mock success, but actually breaking the rules of the game we all agree to play. Hopefully, AMTA has the fortitude to fight Yale on this one.

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    • #47
      The relevant part of the cross:

      Q: Mr. Rivers, you never once asked that defendant to lie, did you?
      A: I donít know how to answer that.
      Q: You can answer with a yes or a no, Mr. Rivers Ė did you ever ask that defendant to lie?
      Q: I need an answer to my question Mr. Rivers
      A: Yes, I Ė I Ė yes, we made her say it.
      Q: Approaching opposing council Ö
      [standard impeachment stuff]
      Q: You just told us you asked the defendant to lie Ö ďIf I had known what Anderson was going to say, I would have told Anderson not to do itĒ - I read that correctly, didnít I?
      A: Of course I said that! I didnít want us to get sued, too!
      Q: I read that correctly, didnít I?
      A: Yes!
      [objection argument]
      Q: If you had known what the defendant would have said, you would have told her not to post it, certainly?
      A: Why Ė Iím trying to help you. Why- I donít - Why are you doing this?
      Q: I need an answer to my question. If you had known that the defendant was going to post this lie, you would have told her not to. You would, wouldnít you?
      A: No.
      Q: You understand what it means to lie under oath, donít you?
      A: Yes.
      Q: You understand that can have penalties for yourself, right?
      A: Yes, why would I lie to you? I didnít want to be here. They made me come here. Why would I lie to you? Itís you that I donít want to sue ME.
      Q: In fact, Mr. Rivers, exactly - youíre concerned that Empowermilk might sue your organization, right?
      A: Yes. Yes.
      Q: So I need you to answer my question. You would agree with me that had the defendant told you of this post before she made it, you would have told her not to do it. Yes or no?
      Q: I need an answer to my questions, Mr. Rivers.
      A: No.

      To me, it comes down to how you interpret "Of course I said that - I didn't want us to get sued, too" - I think it's reasonable to see that as 'Of course I said that [I would have told them not to post it], because that would implicate us in a lawsuit" - not really recanting the affidavit.

      The point is "Of course I would have told her not to post it if she literally asked me 'should I lie about there being lead in milk' verbatim, as that would have directly implicated me in this lawsuit" - so OF COURSE I said that.

      This is especially reasonable given the context of the affidavit:

      I want to be clear: even though I reviewed most of Jerri Andersonís other posts, I did not review Andersonís social media post before Anderson posted it on October 30, 2017. If I had known what Anderson was going to say, I wouldíve told Anderson not to do it. Looking back though, I have to admit that the Dairy Farmers of Midlands definitely benefited from Andersonís post, and the School District contract brought me lots of goodwill as President. My dairy farmer constituents are all thrilled with how things worked out. One of them even joked that this couldnít have worked out better if I had planned it out this way. I just laughed.
      Last edited by DefenseMid; April 8th, 2019, 09:36 AM.

      Comment


      • #48
        Thatís as clear and direct of a contradiction as there can be. The affidavit says if he knew she was going to do it he would have told her not to. The attorney asked him twice: if you knew she was going to do it you would have told her not to. The witness twice recanted the affidavit by disagreeing with a no.
        Last edited by STC; April 8th, 2019, 09:36 AM.

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        • #49
          How long is AMTA going to stay silent for? They should respond; this is very unfair to Rhodes.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by mangomangox3 View Post
            How long is AMTA going to stay silent for? They should respond; this is very unfair to Rhodes.
            It's unfair to the two teams that had to go against this theory during the first four rounds too...

            Comment


            • #51
              Recanting and material invention do seem to slightly cross over in the sense that recanting your affidavit implies that the negative of the fact written that affidavit is true. For example if the fact is, “the light was green,” but the witness takes the stand and says, “I only said that to avoid legal issues,” then the implication there is that, “The light was NOT green.” The credibility of the witnesses’s original claim, and their current one, are now both in question, however, it is important to note that there is a difference between the implication of something being true and the admission of it being true. One is asserting the fact in the sworn statement through the lense of an non-credible witness, the other is inventing a fact in direct contradiction to the affidavit, or of material consequence omitted entirely from the affidavit. I think hostile witnesses in general tend to tow the line because you are inherently trying to make them seem unreliable based on their performance, while working under the same set of facts as written in the affidavit.
              To me, the bigger issue was the witness’s cross answers that seemed to recant the affidavit. To that effect, there were several in-round remedies that Rhodes chose not to pursue. The biggest one for me was to argue in closing that Rivers simply could not be believed, how he was unable to answer anyone’s questions, and how the defense told a story in opening that they simply did not hear in trial. Those are issues of calling out opposing counsel’s reliability and trust. The best attorneys will effectively point out and win points for doings so.
              Another one would have been to ask the judge to have the witness’s entire testimony on direct and cross be stricken from the record, which you are allowed to do if the witness is “unable to answer questions on cross examination.” I think that would have been an exciting objection, and one Rhodes might have also won given that the judge sustained McClain’s motion to strike some non-responsive content the defendant started saying on cross. It also would have likely won Rhodes major points to the detriment of Yale’s direct and cross scores, most likely.
              Yale is a team that does tow the line. And this was very close to a recanting, more so than a material invention. But in my opinion, although they take big risks with their witnesses, there always seems to be an effective remedy. I don’t see that being any different here. I think the Rhodes middle attorney did a great job crossing Rivers, but I do believe he missed a chance to hit closer to the heart of the issue, which is the implication of recanting and calling the witness unreliable, and therefore destroying the defense case.
              Obviously I’ve had more time to think of one, but my rebuttal would have brought the jury into the trial, saying the defense was making them a pawn in their game, that they were trying to take the control out of their hands.
              Honestly, what Yale did with Rivers was a big risk for me. If the crossing attorney had brought up the objection to strike the witness’s entire testimony, then just sat down if it got sustained... I would have given him a 10 and scored the direct and crosses way down. Even for just making the objection tbh, and proceeding with his regular cross, would have indicated to me something was up. But honestly, I did not find his impeachment particularly effective, the way he ran it. Not because there was no remedy, but because I don’t think he chose the right one. It did not seem like a direct contradiction and I thought Bays explained that very well in her response.
              All in all, I think what people dislike about Yale’s strategy is that it forces you to play in their court. Some teams, try to straight up avoid getting in the mud there, and skirt by an issue like the third witness by making as little change to their planned material as possible. That is what I think Rhodes counted on, trying to be cleaner. It’s a risk either way (on both sides), but it paid off for Yale. I know I’m likely in the minority here, but I don’t see ground for sanctions, or the revocation of their title based on what I saw.
              I am also not fully convinced of this fact either, these are just my initial thoughts, after seeing the round once, and my feeling is that I’ll have to buy the tape later to rewatch some crucial moments in the trial to reassess my beliefs.

              Comment


              • #52
                I agree that it was a clear cut rule violation, and would echo all words of geneva, Nur Rauch, The Real Mock Prodigy, and STC. I've transcribed part of the round in question for educational purposes. It should be noted that a blown up demonstrative of exhibit 5, which was the social media post, was present in front of the witness (and is what the attorney is referring to when he says "this post.")

                A: You can answer with a yes or a no, Mr. Rivers. Did you ever ask that defendant to lie?... I need an answer to my question, Mr. Rivers.
                W: Yes. Yes, we made her say it.
                A: I'm approaching opposing council with what has been marked as the witness' affidavit. I'm approaching Mr. Rivers. You recognize what I've just given you, don't you?
                W: Yes, I wrote it before the trial.
                A: It's your sworn statement, correct?
                W: Yes.
                A: You see your name on the top?
                W: Yes.
                A: If you flip to the last page, it has your signature, does it not?
                W: Yes.
                A: Just above where you signed, you've stated "I swear under the foregoing penalty of perjury that everything I've written is true and correct." Is that right?
                W: Yes.
                A: You just told us that you asked the defendant to lie. Flip to page 3. Look at line 85. At the end of that line, follow along silently as I read aloud. "If I had known what Anderson was going to say, I would have told Anderson not to do it." I read that correctly, didn't I?
                W: Of course I said that; I didn't want us to get sued too!
                A: I read that correctly?
                W: Yes.
                *Objection to hearsay, overruled.
                A: If you had known what the defendant would have said, you would have told her not to post it, certainly?
                W: Why- I'm trying to help you. Why are you doing this-
                A: I need a yes or no to my question. If you had known that the defendant was going to post this lie, you would have told her not to. You would, wouldn't you?
                W: No.
                A: You understand what it means to lie under oath, don't you?
                W: Yes.
                A: You understand that could have penalties for yourself, right?
                W: Yes, why would I lie to you? I don't want to be here, they made me be here! They made me come here! Why would I lie to you? It's you that I don't want to sue me!
                A: In fact Mr. Rivers, exactly. You're concerned that Empowermilk might sue your organization, right?
                W: Yes, Yes.
                A: So I need you to answer my question. You would agree with me that had the defendant told you of this post before she made it, you would have told her not to do it. Yes or no?... I need an answer to my question, Mr. Rivers.
                W: No.

                It seems to me that this violates 8.9. To quote and provide context to a few sections:
                -8.9(3) states that "An improper invention is cheating regardless of whether an opponent is successful in demonstrating the violation."
                -8.9(4)(a)i. states "(A type of improper invention is) Any instance (on direct, cross, re-direct, or re-cross examination) in which a witness introduces testimony that contradicts the witness’s affidavit." The witness, with the affidavit in his hand, introduced testimony that directly contradicted a statement in his affidavit - his affidavit said that if Rivers had known Anderson would make that most, Rivers would have told Anderson not to post it. On the stand, again to emphasize, holding the affidavit, Rivers denied that.
                -8.9(4)(c)i. defines a material fact as follows: "Facts are “material” if they affect the merits of the case. Facts are not 'material' if they merely provide background information or develop the character of a witness. One test that judges and competitors can use to assess materiality is whether the facts at issue are of the type that could reasonably be expected to be included in the party’s closing argument." The information from the witness was used in the closing argument.
                -8.9(4)(c)ii. states that "a reasonable inference must be a conclusion that a reasonable person would draw from a particular fact or set of facts contained in the affidavit." Pardon the subjectivity, but I cannot imagine that disagreeing with what is written in your own affidavit is a "reasonable inference."
                -8.9(6)(b), paraphrased, states that information that the Competition Response Committee will review includes (but is not limited to):
                1. the significance of the invention. (If I'm remembering correctly, multiple scoring judges noted in their vocal comments that they found the testimony of Rivers to be very effective, and subsequently, probably scored him highly.)
                2. whether it was used in Closing arguments (it was.)
                3. whether it was used in multiple trials (as can be confirmed by bengarmoe's above post, it was used in both the round 4 and round 5 trials.)
                4. any other evidence suggesting that the team in question had planned to use the improper invention to gain an unfair advantage prior to the invention (they alluded to the material fact they would invent in their opening statement of the trial.)

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by bdopl View Post
                  Recanting and material invention do seem to slightly cross over in the sense that recanting your affidavit implies that the negative of the fact written that affidavit is true. For example if the fact is, “the light was green,” but the witness takes the stand and says, “I only said that to avoid legal issues,” then the implication there is that, “The light was NOT green.” The credibility of the witnesses’s original claim, and their current one, are now both in question, however, it is important to note that there is a difference between the implication of something being true and the admission of it being true. One is asserting the fact in the sworn statement through the lense of an non-credible witness, the other is inventing a fact in direct contradiction to the affidavit, or of material consequence omitted entirely from the affidavit. I think hostile witnesses in general tend to tow the line because you are inherently trying to make them seem unreliable based on their performance, while working under the same set of facts as written in the affidavit.
                  To me, the bigger issue was the witness’s cross answers that seemed to recant the affidavit. To that effect, there were several in-round remedies that Rhodes chose not to pursue. The biggest one for me was to argue in closing that Rivers simply could not be believed, how he was unable to answer anyone’s questions, and how the defense told a story in opening that they simply did not hear in trial. Those are issues of calling out opposing counsel’s reliability and trust. The best attorneys will effectively point out and win points for doings so.
                  Another one would have been to ask the judge to have the witness’s entire testimony on direct and cross be stricken from the record, which you are allowed to do if the witness is “unable to answer questions on cross examination.” I think that would have been an exciting objection, and one Rhodes might have also won given that the judge sustained McClain’s motion to strike some non-responsive content the defendant started saying on cross. It also would have likely won Rhodes major points to the detriment of Yale’s direct and cross scores, most likely.
                  Yale is a team that does tow the line. And this was very close to a recanting, more so than a material invention. But in my opinion, although they take big risks with their witnesses, there always seems to be an effective remedy. I don’t see that being any different here. I think the Rhodes middle attorney did a great job crossing Rivers, but I do believe he missed a chance to hit closer to the heart of the issue, which is the implication of recanting and calling the witness unreliable, and therefore destroying the defense case.
                  Obviously I’ve had more time to think of one, but my rebuttal would have brought the jury into the trial, saying the defense was making them a pawn in their game, that they were trying to take the control out of their hands.
                  Honestly, what Yale did with Rivers was a big risk for me. If the crossing attorney had brought up the objection to strike the witness’s entire testimony, then just sat down if it got sustained... I would have given him a 10 and scored the direct and crosses way down. Even for just making the objection tbh, and proceeding with his regular cross, would have indicated to me something was up. But honestly, I did not find his impeachment particularly effective, the way he ran it. Not because there was no remedy, but because I don’t think he chose the right one. It did not seem like a direct contradiction and I thought Bays explained that very well in her response.
                  All in all, I think what people dislike about Yale’s strategy is that it forces you to play in their court. Some teams, try to straight up avoid getting in the mud there, and skirt by an issue like the third witness by making as little change to their planned material as possible. That is what I think Rhodes counted on, trying to be cleaner. It’s a risk either way (on both sides), but it paid off for Yale. I know I’m likely in the minority here, but I don’t see ground for sanctions, or the revocation of their title based on what I saw.
                  I am also not fully convinced of this fact either, these are just my initial thoughts, after seeing the round once, and my feeling is that I’ll have to buy the tape later to rewatch some crucial moments in the trial to reassess my beliefs.
                  Recanting IS a material invention, per the AMTA sanction memo last year. Last year, a team had a Bailey Bell-Leon say that they wrote certain favorable facts in their affidavit because their mom and the attorney were in the room and told Bailey to say that. This is exactly the same scenario. How much more clear does AMTA need to be that you're supposed to stick to what it says in the affidavits. Just because it would be a cool and interesting case theory that Anderson was set up by the Dairy Farmers doesn't mean it's one that's supported by the affidavits such that you can actually have a witness say it. This is straight up unfair.

                  As to these other in-round remedies, AMTA itself has repeatedly said that the only in-round remedy is impeachment. Based on what the user above wrote, it appears Rhodes did the best anyone reasonably could to point out the absurdity of admitting to lying under oath on the stand. Thus, they have exhausted the only in-round remedy available to them, per AMTA. Your suggestion of asking the judge to strike the whole testimony from the record is without precedent; you can't very well blame someone for failing to do something that the AMTA rules and the rules of evidence don't prescribe.

                  Arguing on closing not to believe the witness is a fair point; but a closing is only one score. Yale was allowed to base its entire case theory on a crucial, made-up fact that no other team had access to. That permeates every single performance in the round. That made-up fact goes directly to an essential element of the plaintiff's claim. You can't account for the effect it had in that regard. As the sanction memo points out, recanting the affidavit is calculated to render impeachment useless, because it amounts to "yeah I know I said that, but I was lying then." There's simply no room to call this a reasonable, non-material invention.
                  May I please the court?

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by VoirDeerInTheHeadlights View Post

                    Exactly.
                    I'd personally rather punish people who are violating the substance and spirit of the rules than expect those playing by the rules to satisfy a higher bar before taking action against rule-breakers.
                    May I please the court?

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Iíd argue that the main issue here is that amta issued not one, but two sanctions on material invention last year, one directly related to recanting an affidavit. They even broke tradition by issuing a statement on the sanctions. The fact that Yale did this despite that is what makes it egregious in my eyes. Had they pulled off a theory like this with no precedent, I think theyíd have been fine, but I believe they knowingly violated the rules.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        I agree that this invention feels very different from the final round last year. The red envelope stuff was at least somewhat based in the facts of the case. Rivers straight up yelling "I just said that so I wouldn't get sued" is so blatantly recanting that I don't see how Yale thought that was a good idea. It's a real shame, they are an extremely talented team that could win WITHOUT cheating, yet they continue to push bounds that they don't need to. I sincerely hope they have the title taken away, they don't deserve it.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          I will go against the mob here and say this theory from Yale is amazing mock trial. Hostile witnesses are incredibly risky, and it takes an incredible amount of talent and, frankly, guts, to pull something like this off. Watching the Yale case was some of the most fun I ever have had watching mock trial.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            As someone who watched the round live, after Rivers went this was fiercely debated by everyone in the room, AMTA reps included. I think one of the main things that I probably disagree with most of the people on here about is whether this was "fair". Rhodes and specifically Daniel Elliot, did a superb job on cross. As many have mentioned, people thought Yale may have lost the round because of the cross. In my scores I had the direct as a very high score (as DefenseMid pointed out before, I certainly don't think there was anything wrong with the direct), but the Rivers cross score suffered dearly, and Elliot got a 10 in my book. Everyone keeps claiming that "Yale's case theory as a whole wasn't fair", I absolutely resoundingly disagree with this point. Just because you didn't think of it, just because the case writers didn't INTEND for it, doesn't mean it is cheating. It is actually very reasonably inferred from the case in my book. Yale presented a very compelling case. The witness who portrayed Rivers is a true artist when it comes to sucking up cross time on almost impeachments, but I think he took it too far in this round, and as I said, I believe his score suffered accordingly.

                            While we don't have the blue ballots in front of us, my guess is that most of the judges scored fairly similarly to how those of us in the room felt and gave Rhodes a huge margin of victory on the cross score for Rivers.

                            To me, the concept that this wasn't fair is preposterous. It was risky, and it paid off in some ways, it made Yale suffer in others. The reality is that Yale won that round because every other aspect of the trial they were better in. Rhodes was fantastic and polished and clear and I am confident that they present far better then any of us will ever be able to, but they didn't adapt well. They got sucked into what Yale wanted to do and played Yale's game. The reality is that Yale is better at arguing their game then Rhodes is, as a result I thought Yale won handily leading up to Rivers. I believe that the Rivers cross was the great equalizer, as many would expect, everything in the case was leading up to that point, everyone was waiting for the exciting Rivers, and to a certain extent they got what they wanted. I thought Elliot addressed it as well as could be expected and I think that the in trial remedy functioned exactly as intended.

                            A lot of people have compared this to the Bailey of a few years ago, here is the main difference in my opinion. I think that what Bailey said discredits Kerry and the prosecution attorneys by her statements so while she is perjuring herself, because she is a child, its not her fault, her scores shouldn't suffer, you should blame those mean prosecutors... This is unfair because the act of perjuring onself isn't a proper in-trial remedy.

                            In this case, by Rivers perjuring himself (or it least admitting that he was the one who committed this crime), he is the only one to blame. It doesn't feel super realistic that someone who "wants to avoid getting sued" would admit to being the mastermind after getting away with your sinister plan. As a result, I think that in perjuring himself, he alone is to blame. His scores should suffer because he is the one who actively chose to do this.

                            The distinction is in how well the impeachment function works as an in-trial remedy. In one case, it doesn't, in the other it completely discredits the witness and scores major points for the other side... Just saying, Yale won because going into that witness they were so far ahead that there was no coming back for Rhodes.

                            There was a huge plaintiff bais in this case, yet Yale found a way to beat Rhodes (a team who fully deserved to be in the final round) while on defense. Lets not hate on creativity and really clever mock just because they thought of something that you didn't.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Mockiavelli View Post
                              I will go against the mob here and say this theory from Yale is amazing mock trial. Hostile witnesses are incredibly risky, and it takes an incredible amount of talent and, frankly, guts, to pull something like this off. Watching the Yale case was some of the most fun I ever have had watching mock trial.
                              This doesn't "go against the mob" necessarily. Many agree that it was exciting to watch, undoubtedly risky, and reflects incredible talent. Of course it took guts to commit to this strategy. Comments like these simply omit one key reality; the "guts" it took to pull this off was a willingness to break the rules and consequentially, a rule violation. Sure, that takes guts. But if AMTA chooses to penalize them for it, Yale's gutsy strategy just didn't yield the return they hoped for.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                But the problem isnít whether or not Rhodes would have won. Itís that what Yale did was explicitly recant an affidavit and base the ENTIRE case theory off of that. They may not have lost the case had they not pulled that stunt, but they violated AMTA rules regardless.

                                That case was incredibly fun to watch. It was riveting. Their Rivers was compelling, the direct and cross absolutely amazing. Yet it was still a clear violation of AMTA rules, and Yale should have known better than to pull a stunt like that. Even if AMTA doesnít remove their title, AMTA owes it to the community to put out some sort of statement about what happened. Otherwise, as others in this thread have stated, thereís no limit to what teams can make up.

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