Last month, the winners of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) Third Annual National Mock Trial Competition in Mexico, a team from Colegio Jurista of Morelos, came to Washington, DC to compete against winners of Cal Western University’s sister mock trial competition, a team from Universidad de Guanajuato. The competition was organized by ABA ROLI’s New Advocates for Mexican Justice Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
These two teams faced off at a Champion of Champions mock trial event at American University’s College of Law on July 12, 2016. Three U.S. judges, Hon. Hiram Puig-Lugo of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Hon. Robert H. Whaley of the Eastern District of Washington and Hon. Gisela Cardonne Ely of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida judged the competition. The case considered involved the kidnapping of a pregnant woman and the teams had to play the roles of prosecutors and defense. Ultimately, the team from the Universidad de Guanajuato was deemed the Champion of Champions. Following the event, all students participated in a study tour of Washington, DC where they visited the FBI building, Supreme Court and DC Courts to learn more about the U.S. justice system.
Marcela López García, law student and member of the team from the Colegio Jurista of Morelos spoke about her participation in ABA ROLI’s trainings and competitions: “ABA ROLI México organizes wonderful mock trial competitions nationwide and internationally. They provide the best academic experience for any law student, promoting the best practices on trial advocacy techniques.”
For nearly five years, ABA ROLI has worked closely with Mexico’s academic sector in order to promote the adaptation of law schools teaching curriculum and methods to the country’s nascent accusatorial criminal justice system. As of June 18, 2016, Mexico has officially adopted an accusatorial criminal justice system, but critical weaknesses in law school teaching methods persist. ABA ROLI seeks to address a lack of practical experience with the accusatorial system through its Program.
To learn more about our work in Mexico, please contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].