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  • NCT Sanctions

    The sanctions are up. What do people think?

    http://www.collegemocktrial.org/resources/sanctions-/

  • #2
    Why is AMTA's memo so vague as to what inventions they're sanctioning? There's very little guidance in here about the improper invention rules, especially compared to the other sanction memos they've released recently.

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    • #3
      FBKR I agree. Previous memos have gone in depth with specifics as to what was over the line. It's strange that AMTA was so vague here. There is also usually more discussion of why the specific sanctions were chosen. By that I mean, there is usually a discussion of why they chose to make the sanctions so harsh/not harsh. Here, they have extremely harsh sanctions --harsher than any previous invention of fact sanctions -- but not a super in depth discussion of why such severe sanctions were warranted.

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      • #4
        I agree with the outcome, but yes I would have liked to see a more detailed explanation of the rationale.

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        • #5
          Itís probably to prevent gamesmanship of the rules by future violators. I did not find these sanctions surprising given the gravity of situation.

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          • #6
            I think there might be an issue here of what the role of the sanction memo is. I think what the perjuries community might want is different from the expressed intention of the memo. It seems like AMTA is angling this as a means of asserting the applicable rules in a way that can be applied to any case materials. From the language in the decision it seems like there were numerous separate issues that led to their ruling and that the whole thing was complex. I can understand why if they wanted to assert certain principles to educate participants (recanting affidavit=bad, premeditation=bad, making up favorable facts rather than working with the closed universe problem=bad) that they would not go into the analytic weeds about the nuances of Empowermilk vs. Jerri Anderson (a case that will never be run again). Like, in the previous State vs. Hendricks sanctions, it was still in the middle of the competitive season so the specific case details could be helpful to teams in their prep. Overall, I can see how this makes sense with the goal of articulating the abstract standards to all of the teams.

            I get the feeling this isn't really what the Perj community is looking for out of it. I feel like there's a want to evaluate the decision as warranted or unwarranted and would want the in the weeds analysis of empowermilk fact stuff (just going based on the hundreds of very in the weeds comments from the last thread about this). For that I think we'd need all of the underlying documents and presumably the information the affected schools got. IDK if I'm holding my breath for that.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Real Mock Prodigy
              One thing that is interesting that was not included in the sanctions, but should have been imo: apparently Daniel Elliot was scored down on cross by the judges for trying the impeachment, while the witness was scored up on cross for his handling of the impeachment. That seems to show pretty clearly that there was no available remedy for what Yale did.
              Did someone publish the ballots? This is the first time I've heard this, would be big if true.

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              • #8
                I'm interested to see how the community will respond to this.

                -Will Yale continue to extravagant case theories/be dominant?
                -Will AMTA as a whole look down on creative case theories and set clear limits?
                -Will the episode of the Mock Review with Ben and Drew still happen after this outcome?

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                • #9
                  They should re-do the final with UMBC and Rhodes. "No winner declared" on AMTA's page for the 2019 Champion is lame...

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                  • #10
                    Is it normal for a student to be banned from coaching too? I feel like that can be a good deterrent for many graduating students.

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                    • #11
                      Itís not normal. Look at the previous sanctions. The thing is that the fact that there were a decent number of graduating seniors on that team seems to have prevented AMTA from making any sanctions (other than the aforementioned one) that concretely affect them.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Real Mock Prodigy
                        One thing that is interesting that was not included in the sanctions, but should have been imo: apparently Daniel Elliot was scored down on cross by the judges for trying the impeachment, while the witness was scored up on cross for his handling of the impeachment. That seems to show pretty clearly that there was no available remedy for what Yale did.
                        If this is true it serves as a very interesting example of what many who have been put in a similar situation realize: impeachment is not an effective remedy for inventions of fact against a good witness.

                        Overall I think we should commend AMTA for being willing to hand out this kind of sanction, instead of settling for some halfway solution. I think the memorandum they released was correct in noting that these issues strike directly against the educational and ethical lessons that the legal community wants undergraduates to learn by participating in mock trial. While I would also like some more information about the underlying evidence, arguments from the programs, the rule analysis, etc., it is probably better that much of this isn't made public. I would expect perhaps more explanation in the larger guidance document they're planning to release, and I would love to see someone from AMTA participate in an interview on this topic similar to the interviews conducted on the podcast last summer.

                        Watching Yale progress from this point will no doubt be fascinating. I just hope the community allows them to serve out their sanction and work their way back into the fold without any hostility.

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                        • #13
                          AMTA absolutely made the right call with these sanctions. If they didn't punish Yale as hard as they did we likely would have seen several teams try similar strategies throughout the upcoming year, but now the precedent is set clearly on a national stage.

                          This line in the sanction was especially interesting.

                          "In real life, lawyers and parties cannot simply change the facts or information to create a more palatable narrative. Rather, the true test of an advocate in real life is how one takes the facts that they are given and argues as best they can for their client. An advocate cannot simply change bad facts for their client, a witness cannot lie under oath, and a lawyer cannot encourage a witness to commit perjury on the stand. A practicing attorney would face loss of their license to practice law for encouraging perjury by their client and/or attempting to alter evidence in a case."

                          If Yale was not properly punished, Improper Inventions would have likely been far more common next year, and that's not what Mock Trial is about. You can't shape the world to the specific narrative you want to present, there are constraints to the facts, just like in real life. I feel AMTA has made that point especially clear in this memo.

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                          • #14
                            I agree with the sanctions as well, but think that AMTA missed out on a chance to be more educational in their memo as to what exactly they found to be in violation of the rules.

                            Their vague statements that "X is bad," " Y is really bad," and so on are really all things we already knew. What made the previous memos very helpful was how explicit they were in identifying which statements and which witnesses broke which particular rules and how. This case, in particular, was a tricky one to apply the rule to (as shown by the debate on perjuries).

                            Especially because--it sounds like AMTA ended up determining that a *lot* of Yale's witnesses and theory broke the rules. I.e. not just Rivers when he recanted. I think a lot of us assumed that Yale had been toing the line properly in the round until Rivers. The memo suggests that even without Rivers, Yale broke the rules. That's a substantially different conclusion, and one that would benefit teams for AMTA to describe more explicitly.

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                            • #15
                              For those not satisfied with how AMTA explained the sanctions, they did state this in the announcement thing:

                              "As a result of this and other investigations that have occurred during the 2018 and 2019 seasons regarding egregious invention of fact issues, AMTA intends to release a comprehensive guidance document for all teams in advance of the 2020 AMTA season that combines all of AMTA's prior decisions regarding invention of fact issues for ease of reference for all teams."


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