University of Pittsburgh
April 9, 2007

Pitt Mock Trial Club Competes in National Championship April 13-15

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh Mock Trial Club finished second in the National Division Tournament held at Northwestern University in Chicago, behind Cornell University, qualifying the Pitt team for the National Championship, to be held in St. Petersburg at Stetson University College of Law April 13-15.

The top three teams from each division qualify to compete in the National Championship. This is the first time in Pitt's history that the Mock Trial Club has qualified for the championship and the fifth consecutive year it has qualified for the division tournament.

The team will argue the "Jeffries vs. Polk County Police Department" case, a lawsuit against the department filed by the parents of an unarmed teenage boy who was left in a coma after being shot by an off-duty officer. The parents' position is that because of the actions of the officer, who committed suicide shortly after the incident, and through the police department's policy, customs, and practice, their son was deprived of his constitutional rights to due process of the law.

Jennifer Shively, a lawyer with the Pittsburgh Public Defender's Office, mentors the Pitt club, helping the students study and prepare for their cases. Participating students including Ethan Kate, a Pitt junior and mock trial president majoring in finance and political science, and sophomore Peter Allen, majoring in biomedical engineering and neuroscience. Both students were named All Americans in the division tournament. Ed McCord, director of programming at Pitt Honors College, a mock trial sponsor, said that Shively has been a major asset to the club's success.

At the national championship, the Pitt team will compete against University of California Berkeley, University of Virginia, Harvard University, University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Chicago.