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  • #61
    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
    But they were better in large part because they were relying on that egregious factual invention. This was a very influential invention. It allowed Yale to ignore all the normal ways the case was defended, and instead offer quick, clean cross-examinations about the lack of evidence of the defendant's state of mind, which normally would be a completely irrelevant issue. Rhodes could do nothing to address the invention in their own case in chief, since none of the witnesses addressed it, and it was a big point in both Yale's opening and closing, as it was the entire crux of their defense.
    Last edited by Nur Rauch; April 8th, 2019, 11:52 AM.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Nur Rauch View Post

      But they were better in large part because they were relying on that egregious factual invention. This was a very influential invention. It allowed Yale to ignore all the normal ways the case was defended, and instead offer quick, clean cross-examinations about the lack of evidence of the defendant's state of mind, which normally would be a completely irrelevant issue. It was a big point in both their openings and closings, too, as it was the entire crux of their defense.
      I think there is an argument to be made that Rivers went too far on cross, moving from "heavy implication through effective witness portrayal" territory closer to "outright stating he did it", although I still think he toed the line.

      But if you think the theory itself is an egregious invention, you are just wrong. How many teams had a "Kerry attacked Dylan" theory last year? How many teams had a "Morgan Jones did it" defense? I mean, some teams even had hostile witnesses who heavily implied that THEY attacked Kerry. You may be surprised to hear that none of these points is actually supported by the witness statements, and also allowed teams to offer "clean cross-examinations". This isn't a problem unless the witness MAKES STUFF UP. Read what Yale's witness said - he didn't make stuff up.

      Yale wasn't even guaranteed to get Rivers as a witness - how in the world could they be relying on any alleged egregious invention?
      Last edited by DefenseMid; April 8th, 2019, 11:58 AM.

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      • #63
        But if you think the theory itself is an egregious invention, you are just wrong.
        Imagine Rivers doesn't testify and recant his affidavit. Yale's opening, closing, and multiple cross-examinations no longer make sense in the trial.

        Yale wasn't even guaranteed to get Rivers as a witness - how in the world could they be relying on any alleged egregious invention?
        Probably they had a different legal theory if they don't get Rivers.

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        • #64
          For what it's worth:

          In Yale's other defense round, Emory called Rivers, so Yale wasn't afforded the opportunity to run the hostile witness. But Yale still ran a similar theory, alleging Rivers set up the men in the grocery store. Naturally, the cross of plaintiff Rivers was confrontational.
          Accusing the other team's witness of lying is within the bounds of fair play. But having your own witness recant is not.


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          • #65
            Didnít defense get first pick of witnesses in the final round?

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            • #66
              I entirely disagree with those saying that Yale's invention was central to their case. For one thing, no invention was used on direct: Rivers saying he gave Anderson a "push" is completely in line with his affidavit. The invention only came up on cross, in response to the particular impeachment Rhodes chose to perform. Had the cross played out differently it never would have occurred -ó- which isn't a defense in itself, but suggests that it wasn't as crucial to Yale's theory as some seem to be asserting. Furthermore, to my recollection Bays didn't refer to the invention at all in her closing argument, relying entirely on the planned and unimpeachable lines from direct. That's specifically mentioned as a potential factor in determining whether an invention is egregious under the AMTA rules.

              Speaking of which, another consideration listed is whether the team used the same or similar improper inventions in other trials. Some have mentioned that Yale pursued the same defense case theory in earlier rounds --ó but did anyone see the actual invention at any other point in time? That is, Rivers denying that he would have told Anderson not to make the post, or similarly contradicting his affidavit?

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              • #67
                Regardless of whether the impeachment asked the right questions, the CRC issued a memorandum this year that clarified their standard as being what a reasonable student would infer from the case packet.

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                • #68
                  Voir Dire I think this is a really good point - everyone is jumping on River's behavior on cross, I think in part because the direct was so well-scripted and executed that it supported Yale's "Rivers did it" theory without Rivers ever crossing the bounds of the Rivers affidavit.

                  Yes, on cross, the witness seems to have got a bit too far into the character. Playing an emotional character in the high-pressure scenario of a final round, it's natural that he can't pick his words perfectly on cross.

                  But the specific fact he denied - "I would have told her not to post it" - is really not material to the Yale case. He could have said "what I said in my affidavit is exactly right - of course I would have told her not to post it, if she told me about it in advance - that would mean I would get sued." That would have been completely in line with both his affidavit and Yale's theory, and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

                  Instead, he said "of course I said that - I didn't want to get sued" which I think is pretty damn close. So what's the issue here?

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Mockiavelli View Post
                    But the specific fact he denied - "I would have told her not to post it" - is really not material to the Yale case.
                    Yeah, I'm trying to imagine any answer he could have given to that question that would have stopped Yale's case from holding together, and I'm just not seeing it. He could have said "yes, you're absolutely right, I would never want anyone to say anything false" and Yale's closing could have been exactly the same. Rivers just wasn't a credible source of testimony by that point.

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                    • #70
                      Aside from the witness's answers on direct/cross, surely it matters that Yale's opening explicitly stated that the evidence would show that the Dairy Association planted the persons in the grocery store. What possible good faith basis did Yale have to make that statement that was not a material invention? You can quibble over whether the statements the witness made on direct and cross merely implied a material invention or outright explicitly constituted a material invention. But the witness quotes combined with Yale's opening statement makes it unmistakable in my view.

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                      • #71
                        A lot of people are talking about impactfulness of the invention and whether or not it mattered that much in trial at the end of the day. That's a fine discussion to have, but it does not have much bearing based on what the rules state: "An improper invention of fact is cheating... (Improper invention is defined as) Any instance (on direct, cross, re-direct, or re-cross examination) in which a witness introduces testimony that contradicts the witnessís affidavit."

                        On cross examination, with the affidavit in his hand, when asked whether or not he agreed with the information contained in the affidavit, the witness said no. There was nothing more that can be done by the crossing attorney. It's not clever, and it's not a strategy. It's simply disagreeing with a fact that was written in the case.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by midlands615 View Post
                          Aside from the witness's answers on direct/cross, surely it matters that Yale's opening explicitly stated that the evidence would show that the Dairy Association planted the persons in the grocery store. What possible good faith basis did Yale have to make that statement that was not a material invention? You can quibble over whether the statements the witness made on direct and cross merely implied a material invention or outright explicitly constituted a material invention. But the witness quotes combined with Yale's opening statement makes it unmistakable in my view.
                          They were certainly arguing that the Dairy Association planted the men in the grocery store. While I don't have the video in front of me, the argument in closing was basically as follows: "Rivers asked Anderson to post negative comments about Empowermilk, she didn't, and Rivers admits he gave her a push. You heard from Sullivan what that was, how two strange men showed up out of nowhere, etc." None of that relies on Rivers contradicting his affidavit.

                          To be clear, I agree that Rivers contradicted his affidavit. That much is undeniable. He invented a material fact, and by the AMTA rules, that's cheating.

                          But we can't stop the discussion there. Murder and jaywalking are both crimes, but it's important to distinguish between them. In fact, that distinction is far more important than whether someone broke the law in the first place. There's a reason the rules emphasize whether an invention was premeditated and whether it actually influenced the outcome of a round: those questions are crucial to determining the appropriate response.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Voir Dire View Post

                            They were certainly arguing that the Dairy Association planted the men in the grocery store. While I don't have the video in front of me, the argument in closing was basically as follows: "Rivers asked Anderson to post negative comments about Empowermilk, she didn't, and Rivers admits he gave her a push. You heard from Sullivan what that was, how two strange men showed up out of nowhere, etc." None of that relies on Rivers contradicting his affidavit.

                            To be clear, I agree that Rivers contradicted his affidavit. That much is undeniable. He invented a material fact, and by the AMTA rules, that's cheating.

                            But we can't stop the discussion there. Murder and jaywalking are both crimes, but it's important to distinguish between them. In fact, that distinction is far more important than whether someone broke the law in the first place. There's a reason the rules emphasize whether an invention was premeditated and whether it actually influenced the outcome of a round: those questions are crucial to determining the appropriate response.
                            My point is doesn't Yale's opening statement itself point towards a material invention? What good faith basis did Yale have in their opening statement to assert that the evidence [as contained in the case packet, plus reasonable inferences drawn from the packet] would establish that the Dairy Association planted those persons?

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by midlands615 View Post

                              My point is doesn't Yale's opening statement itself point towards a material invention? What good faith basis did Yale have in their opening statement to assert that the evidence [as contained in the case packet, plus reasonable inferences drawn from the packet] would establish that the Dairy Association planted those persons?
                              I'll bite:

                              Sullivan and Anderson live in this community, go to this store regularly. They had never seen these 2 men before.

                              These 2 men didn't buy anything, didn't have a cart, were talking loudly about lead right in front of the milk aisle right when Anderson happened to come in.

                              Circumstantial evidence of motive - losing this big contract would be DEVASTATING for the Dairy Association.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by DefenseMid View Post

                                I'll bite:

                                Sullivan and Anderson live in this community, go to this store regularly. They had never seen these 2 men before.

                                These 2 men didn't buy anything, didn't have a cart, were talking loudly about lead right in front of the milk aisle right when Anderson happened to come in.

                                Circumstantial evidence of motive - losing this big contract would be DEVASTATING for the Dairy Association.
                                I appreciate that - and that's a solid point that would likely be fair game in closing argument to argue from the circumstantial evidence you describe above that that may have been what occurred.

                                But that's different from what you are able to present in opening statements. My recollection of Yale's opening was that they asserted that the evidence would show that the Dairy Farmers planted those persons. I think that, to say that in openings, you need to have a good faith basis to believe that you could present that affirmative evidence. From my view, Yale didn't have such a basis without a material invention, through the testimony of their witness.

                                So in my view, the opening statement remarks go towards making the invention more egregious because it was part of a comprehensive case strategy that Yale focused on in its opening statement, from the start.

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