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Mock criminal trial competition at UT Austin offers court drama free and open to the public

The alleged theft of about $20,000 from an employer is the scenario for law school students from several neighboring states to argue during a regional mock trial tournament this weekend at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The alleged theft of about $20,000 from an employer is the scenario for law school students from several neighboring states to argue during a regional mock trial tournament this weekend at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

The legal drama, which is free and open to the public, will involve hundreds of law students, lawyers and judges from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The top two teams will advance to the National Trial Competition during March in Dallas.

The criminal case revolves around an employee accused of stealing $20,000.01 from his employer. The employee was directed to deposit the money in the employer’s account, but no bank record of the transaction can be found. Witnesses will include the employee, the employer, the bank teller and bank officials.

UT Austin students will play the “witnesses.” Actual, practicing Texas judges will perform the role of judge. Judges who will be participating in the tournament include Justice James A. Baker of the Supreme Court of Texas (Friday at 3 p.m.), Court of Criminal Appeals Justice Cheryl Johnson (Friday at 9 a.m.), and former Court of Criminal Appeal Justice Charles Campbell (Friday at 9 a.m.). Numerous other county court and federal district court judges also will be present.

Competing schools include UT Austin, University of Houston, University of Oklahoma, Southern Methodist University, University of Tulsa, Baylor University, Texas Southern University, Texas Tech University, St. Mary’s University, South Texas School of Law, Tulane University, and Loyola University.

The public is invited to watch these mock trials, which will occur on Thursday at 5 p.m., Friday at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Saturday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday at 10 a.m. All trials will be held in courtrooms in the Connally Center for Justice at UT Austin School of Law.

For more information, contact Tracy McCormack, UT Austin law school director for interscholastic competitions, at (512) 232-9327 or (512) 232-3680, or Mollie Wettstein of the Board of Advocates at (512) 762-3992.