Constitution & Bylaws

CONSTITUTION OF THE UCM MOCK TRIAL TEAM

ARTICLE I. NAME

This organization shall be known as “UCM Mock Trial” for all official purposes. It shall be referred to herein as “the team.”

ARTICLE II. PURPOSE

The purpose of the team shall be to provide to undergraduate students at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) an opportunity to learn about our country’s legal system, jurisprudence, and intricacies of trial practice and pre-trial strategy. The team shall adhere to the ideals of mock trial as found in the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) official rule book, including civility, friendship, honesty, and integrity at all times and with all things. The team shall compete at yearly Regional and (when possible) National competitions, as sponsored by AMTA, or as provided by other universities through invitational tournaments as is practicable, and will attempt, when and if possible, to hold its own invitational tournament and fundraisers.

ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP

A. Eligibility: Membership on the team shall be open to any and all undergraduate students at UCM provided they are:

1.  A student, meaning enrolled in 12 credit hours or more in a single semester, with a satisfactory GPA of 3.0 or higher in the previous semester.

2.  A previous full-time student at UCM who is still within one hundred twenty (120) days of graduation, and has not begun any other course of study at another University.

3.  UCM students who have already earned one baccalaureate degree but are still enrolled in another baccalaureate degree program.

NOTE: No student may compete or participate on the team for more than five (5) academic years. 

B. Active Members: The team shall only have an “active membership” and will have no other form of membership other than an “Honorary membership” as may be bestowed by the Coach or Faculty Advisor. In order to maintain active membership, a student must:

1.  Attend Practice and Competitions. Failure to attend practice/competition without prior notification or excuse can result in removal from all team responsibilities and/or membership. Members are allowed to miss practice and retain their membership and any assigned roles so long as notice has been given to the Captain, Assistant Captain, or Coach prior to such missed practice. Members should make an attempt to contact the Coach first in all such situations. Any determination of removal for any reasons shall be made by the Coach or Faculty Advisor as warranted.

2.  Participate. All team members are expected to either compete, or attempt to compete, in at least one (1) competition each year. Such includes any audition for open roles, or challenges to current members for existing roles, challenges are described under Chapter 2 of the Bylaws. Failure to participate can be grounds for expulsion from the team or may be cause for demotion of officers as determined by the Coach. Those members listed as alternates making a reasonable attempt to compete will retain membership. Participation can be achieved without ever being in a competition.

3.  Communicate. All team members shall communicate with either the Coach, or Captain all absences, scheduling conflicts, or other reasons for non-attendance at practices. Failure to communicate can be grounds for expulsion from the team or may be cause for demotion of officers as determined by the Coach.

4.  Prepare. Preparation is vital to the success of the team. All members will be asked to write direct examinations, cross examinations, opening statements, closing arguments, and other related materials. Failure to prepare assigned tasks on time can be grounds for expulsion from the team or may be cause for demotion of officers, or removal from competition as determined by the Coach.

5. Register.  All members seeking to compete must register with AMTA  as directed by the AMTA Rules and Regulations for that competition year. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are properly registered for competition. Failure to register can be grounds for expulsion from the team or may be cause for demotion of officers as determined by the Coach. Students that fail to register shall not be eligible for competition.

C. Non-Discrimination: The team shall be open to all persons as described in Article II, B herein above and shall not exclude any person due to race, age, religion, color, creed, national origin, mental or physical handicaps, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or veteran status.

ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS AND DUTIES

A. Titles.

1.  Captain;

2.  Assistant Captain;

B. Qualifications and Duties.

1.  Captain- Any active team member who has competed in at least two (2) competitions, has not missed more than two (2) practices in any semester, and who exhibits the necessary leadership and organizational qualities, and legal understanding as determined by the Coach. This person must be competing as an attorney or witness on both sides of the case for that team. There shall be one (1) Captain per team.

a.  The Captain shall: run meetings and practices as an assistant to the Coach; insure all team members are fully informed of practice dates, schedule changes, and travel plans; maintain the trial box for both Plaintiff and Defendant sides; perform all pre-round competition duties (including attendance of captains meetings and introduction of team during round); accept team awards; assist the Faculty Advisor and coach with team building and/or fund-raising. The Captain shall not serve in any other officer position.

2.  Assistant Captain- Any active team member who has been a member for at least two (2) practices with UCM, has not missed more than two (2) practices in any semester, and who exhibits the necessary leadership and organizational qualities, and legal understanding as determined by the Coach.

a.  The Assistant Captain shall: support the Captain as necessary; fill in and perform all duties of the Captain when needed; attend and assist the Captain at all pre-round meetings as needed; insure all team members are in the correct room for competition rounds and pre-trial set up of demonstratives and exhibits is completed. It shall further be the Assistant Captain’s duties to regularly check for case updates, or other information released by AMTA on at least a weekly basis. The Assistant-Captain shall not serve in any other officer position.

C. Removal of Officers.  Officers may be removed at any time at the discretion of the Coach or Faulty Advisor for failure to perform duties; failure to attend practices; failure to prepare for competition; conduct unbecoming of a UCM Student as prescribed in the UCM Student Handbook; for failure to maintain their status as a full-time student for reason of failing classes; or for other cause as determined by the Coach and/or Faculty Advisor as needed. Removal from an officer position is not removal from the team. Team members may regain their officer positions at the Coach’s discretion. Removal may be for a temporary time to be determined by the Coach.

D. Multiple Teams. In the event the team is able to field more than one competition team then each team shall have a Captain and Assistant Captain who shall be given the same rights and responsibilities as the initially named persons to such. The originally named Captain and Assistant Captain as determined prior to the competition year shall have authority to act as needed in direction of any second or third teams. Multiple teams shall only be utilized if the team has 14 or more individual competitors.


   1. A Team designation. In the event of multiple teams being utilized there shall be a designated “A” team. Such team shall be built with the more experienced members as desired by the Coach. 


  2. B Team designation. If a second team is necessary then it shall be the B Team. Such team shall be for developmental purposes first, and shall remain so as desired by the Coach unless a third team is formed. 


  3. Third or Fourth Teams.  In the event the team is large enough to field more than two teams, then the A and B team’s shall be utilized for the most serious and experienced competitors and any C, D, or further team for developmental purposes. The only exception shall be to provide an experienced person to help run and coach the C or D team as desired by the Coach.

ARTICLE V. MEETINGS

A. Practice. The team shall meet for practice at a time and place prescribed by the Coach. The first practice shall always be held the Sunday after UCM classes resume. Practice shall be used for the completion and polishing of oral presentations, strategy discussions, team member role determinations, and other tasks as determined by the Coach and/or Faculty Advisor. The time and place shall be communicated timely for all members to receive notice.

B. Executive Plenary Sessions. At least once per month, or as deemed needed by the Coach, the Captain and Assistant Captain shall meet with the Coach to discuss any team needs, requests, member issues, or other relevant topics. Such may occur prior to any scheduled practice time. Such sessions may be held via email by the Coach, and may not be necessary with regular communication.


BYLAWS OF THE UCM MOCK TRIAL TEAM

Chapter 1. Auditions and Challenges

A. Auditions for Member and Officer Positions

1. Auditions shall be held at the beginning of each academic year for member roles and officer positions. Auditions shall be held before the third Sunday in September.

2. Auditions shall consist of a two (2) minute persuasive speech and a fifteen (15) question direct examination.

3. Auditions shall be open to all qualified UCM students.

4. Audition materials shall be made available at the start of the academic year in the Department of Government, International Studies, and Languages, or on the UCM Mock Trial Team webpage.

5. Auditions shall be the main method of determining both Officer Positions and Trial Roles. Those not given a specific role will be deemed “alternates” and will be assigned to several potential roles for preparation.


6.  Students joining later in the year shall not be given priority over students that audition until they have either prepared an audition or competed in a tournament. Once they have done so the Coach may utilize them as needed. 

B. Challenge for Officer or Role Position

1.  Any team member meeting Officer qualifications may challenge any existing Officer, at any time, to a two (2) minute persuasive speech at the following practice. The topic for the speech shall be chosen by the person being challenged. The winner shall be determined by the Coach, and may be awarded the Officer position if warranted.

2. Any team member, whether they have a role or are an alternate, may at any time challenge an existing role. Such challenge shall consist of a task as determined by the Coach, and may include a direct exam, cross exam, opening statement, or closing argument.

Chapter 2. Practice.

1. Practices shall be open to all persons as described in Article II, B herein above and shall not exclude any person due to race, age, religion, color, creed, national origin, mental or physical handicaps, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or veteran status.

2. Any member who will not be at a practice must notify the Coach, Captain, or Assistant Captain prior to the meeting. Failure to do so more than once may result in loss of membership with team. Failure to do so by an Officer may result in a suspension of the office.

3. Practice times and dates may vary and members are to regularly communicate such. The team web page will be updated as quickly as possible to reflect the same. Students are expected to check the page for updates regularly, and at a minimum of two (2) times per week. Facebook participation is not necessary, but if a member does not wish to be included in the Facebook group then that person shall be responsible for checking the webpage and email for any information and to stay on top of communication. 

4. Due to the vital nature of preparation and limited practice time, failure to perform assigned tasks prior to practice may be grounds for demotion from office, temporary suspension, role abdication, or other appropriate outcome as determined by the Coach.

Chapter 3. Composition of Team(s).

1. The Team(s) shall have all Officer positions filled, and shall have at least six (6) members but no more than ten (10) as is required by the rules of AMTA.

2. There shall only be one (1) competition team if there are less than fourteen (14) team members. At the discretion of the Coach and Faculty Advisor, a second team may be created if the team has at least fourteen (14) members.

3. Each team must have:

a.  Opening Attorney

b.  Middle Attorney

c.  Closing Attorney

d.  Three (3) witnesses

e.  One (1) Timer who is or is not “competing”

4. Each team may have:

a.  Two (2) Opening Attorneys

b.  Middle Attorney

c.  Two (2) Closing Attorneys

d.  Four (4) Witnesses

e.  One (1) Timer who is not “competing”

5. The timer may be any witness, or may be a non-competing team member.

Chapter 4. Membership.

Membership shall be open as prescribed in the Constitution. Any member may serve in any position so long as they are qualified under the Constitution, or by decision of the Coach for special consideration or conditions as warranted.

Members may be expelled for violation of team duties, team constitution, or other conduct unbecoming of a University representative, at any time. Team members may make recommendations to the Coach or Faculty Advisor for removal, such recommendations shall remain confidential at all times.

Chapter 5. Fundraising.

Any fund-raising activities decided upon by the Coach, Faculty Advisor, and Officers shall be considered a practice for attendance purposes.

Chapter 6. University Engagement

The team is a representative of UCM and a representative of the Department of Government, International Studies, and Languages and Political Science, and the College of Arts and Sciences and Humanities; and members shall at all times conform their behavior to reflect so. From time to time the University or Department may require the team to participate in exhibition or provide speakers, which members must make all reasonable attempts to do so.


Chapter 7. University Representation


All team members shall behave accordingly on any and all team trips, outings, presentations, or other interactions that are the result of the team and shall do so while following all applicable rules and regulations of the University of Central Missouri.