When and How to Make a Motion to Strike in Mock Trial

When and How to Make a Motion to Strike in Mock Trial

Did the judge sustain your objection to improper testimony?  Yay! But… your job isn’t quite done. You now need to move to strike the improper testimony from the record. Luckily, there are just two things you need to know about how to make a motion to strike in mock trial.

1. Make a Motion to Strike When the Judge Sustains Your Objection to Improper Testimony

You should make a motion to strike in mock trial when a witness testified, you objected to their testimony, and the judge sustained your objection.

2. Make the Objection by Specifically Identifying the Testimony You Want Stricken

In a real-life trial, a court reporter creates a record by basically typing down everything that is being said in the courtroom. So, when attorneys make a motion to strike, they’re asking the judge to order that the improper testimony be removed from the record that the court reporter is making. Attorneys have to identify the exact testimony they want stricken, so that it is clear exactly what needs to be removed from the record.

Even though there is no court reporter in a mock trial competition, you should incorporate real-life trial practices as much as possible to establish credibility and show your professionalism.

For example:

  • The prosecution moves to strike all of the witness’s testimony after [the part of the testimony that is not objectionable].
  • The defense moves to strike the witness’s testimony about Mr. Smith’s feelings.
  • The defense moves to strike the following testimony: [Quote the witness’s statement]

Tip:  Co-counsel can help each other by taking notes of witness’s exact response, so the questioning attorney can quote the witness when making a motion to strike in mock trial.

I’ve seen some mock trial attorneys successfully make a motion to strike by simply saying “move to strike” after their objection is sustained. I don’t recommend this. While this general motion may be enough for some judges, others will ask you to be more specific.

Also, being specific about the evidence you want stricken shows your scorers that you know what you are doing. It shows that you understand what a motion to strike is, and that you aren’t simply blurting out the words “move to strike”.

Conclusion

Properly making a motion to strike in mock trial shows your scorers that you are a professional, and you could be rewarded with a great score! The two things to remember about mock trial motions to strike are to: (1) move to strike after the judge sustains your objection to improper testimony and (2) identify the exact testimony you want stricken.

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