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Spence Law Firm Historic Trial 2018

March 19, 2018

The University of Wyoming College of Law will host the fourth annual Spence Law Firm Historic Trial on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the College of Law Large Moot Court Room.

The College of Law, with collaboration from the Spence Law Firm, created the annual Historical Trial as a fun and interesting way to learn about important historical events through a legal lens, while also providing law students a way to simulate a trial of a high profile case.

The Spence Law Firm Historic Trial is a fictional mock trial that is created from the facts of a chronicled historic event. Prior historic trials have included putting John Wilkes Booth on trial for the assassination of President Lincoln, trying Wyoming Governor Amos Barber for his involvement in the Johnson County Cattle War, and a civil libel case revolving around the “no-no boys” at the Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain during World War II.  This year’s trial will put Captain Meriwether Lewis and his expedition subordinate, Private Silas Goodrich, on trial for the theft of a canoe from the Clatsop Tribe during the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition. 

The cast of the trial will once again be filled with stand-out UW law students, alumni and professors, as well as prominent figures from around the state. Presiding over the trial will be City of Laramie Municipal Judge and College of Law Professor Dona Playton (B.S. ’89, J.D. ’93). Representing the United States will be United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming Kelly Rankin (B.S. ’90, J.D. ’94) along with third-year law student Andrea Sobel of Englewood, Colo. For the defense, attorney Kyle Ridgeway (J.D. ’12) of the Casper law firm Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C. will be working with UW law student Alexandra Disque of Byron, Minn. to represent Captain Lewis, while United States Marine Corp JAG officer Major Jessica Martz (J.D. ’11) will be working with third-year law student Noah Grovenstein of Powell, Wyo., to represent Private Goodrich.

Keeping in the spirit of the event, the cast will be in full costumes, and will try to be as historically accurate as possible. The trial itself, will utilize modern legal rules, procedures, and technology, but is a fun application of the law in a historical context.

The mock trial is free and open to the public. An overflow room with a live stream of the trial will be provided in the event of high occupancy. Refreshments will be provided at the break. For further inquiries, please contact Christine Reed at the College of Law Christine.reed@uwyo.edu.


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