Tool Court Tournament: Court Room Observation
Introduction and Review
The ever-changing human behaviors have led to the existence of a highly complex world. As Segal and others (2005) postulated, “unlike nature and its phenomenon, whose behavior sometimes reduces to precise mathematical formulations, such as E=mc squared, human activities are highly complex and interwoven” (p.20). The complexity of human behavior can be evidenced in the many interpretations or explanations that accompany any court case. For instance, surveys reveal that the US legal system was endowed with a lot of legal terminologies, procedures and varied structures that elicited differing arguments from case attendants (Hall, 2004, p.9).
To help citizens (US citizens) to understand clearly the complex legal systems that exist in their countries, this paper reviews the Moot Court Tournament case study that featured resolution of disputes in the society. The author articulated the facts as stated by the appellee and the appellant as well as the “judges” contributions in this court “play”. The author went on to state why he conquered with the appellant views.
A biblical view of the solution was also identified and analyzed.
It should be noted that in reviewing this dispute, the author consulted many relevant and up-to-date secondary sources that contained literatures on legal principles of US legal systems for instance, employment relations, intellectual property, contracts, and torts amongst others).
Review of my observation: Articulation of the facts leading to the “case”
The situation at hand arose when the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, in its case number 82A04-8876-CV, initially ruled that the bar attendant (in this case the appellant or the plaintiff, Mr. Peter Gibbs) was the one responsible for “intoxicating’ one of his patrons (Mr. John Daniels); who was later involved in a ‘criminal act” that left three cars severely damaged. This initial decision by the Indiana court draws objection from the appellant (Mr. John Daniels) who, through his two defense counsels (lead by Mr. Benjamin Walton), appealed against the court decision. His defense counsels had abundant facts to articulate in defense of their client.
On the other hand, the court decision drew the support of an appellee (Mr. John Daniels), who is also represented by two defense counsels. They also articulated many “facts” in defense of the appeal. Below is a review of the arguments as was articulated by the two sides. Judges questions and contributions are also incorporated in their reviews.
The Appellant side
Mr. Benjamin Walton was the architect behind the complainant. In the first part of the module, Mr. Walton was the first to take to the stage in defense of the complainant. In his first contribution, he started by stating their stand; that the evidence provided to the court to implicate the bar attendant in the intoxication claims were insufficient to nail his client. The appellant went on to stress that the bar patron had not engaged in any destructive activities at the club to suggest that he had intoxicated.
At this juncture, Mr. Walton was interrupted by one judge, who wanted to know if the appellant had seen his patron drive from the club. In answering the judge, Mr. Walton pointed out that circumstantial knowledge could not, in any way, be used to support the idea of constructive knowledge. In his response, we can deduct that the appellant, through his defense team, held the view that the though the bar patron may have caused the criminal damage as a result of having fallen drunk along the way, this did not constitute a valid reason for their client to be held accountable for his future actions.
When quizzed on the amount of alcohol that a person needed to drink to be intoxicated, the appellant defense team responded by averring that the manner of consumed alcohol differed in persons, a response that according to Liberty University Online (2011) immediately drew the following question from another judge, “do you mean his metabolic rate (especially in terms of size) affected his consumption level”? However, the appellant defense team respondent by saying by objecting.
When quizzed by the judges on whether a person was likely to display his intoxication, after say 30 minutes, into his drinking, the defense team responded in the affirmative and went on to state that though the amount consumed over a certain period determine a person’s intoxication level, there was no valid reason to determine observable evidence based on the amount consumed. The defense team went on to state that the engagement of people into various activities did not constitute visible evidence to show that they were intoxicated.
In further defending their claims, the appellant defense team insisted that the statute as provided in their constitution required that the level of intoxication in a person was to be exclusively manifested in the bar attendant in a visible and clear manner.
Tellingly, In referring to the above statement, the judges wanted establish if the statute could change its meaning as a result of it re-stating that a person furnishing the alcohol ought to have known that his/her patron was already intoxicated. The defense team respondent to their inquiry by giving the following interpretations:
If the statute said that the person should have known, then constructive knowledge would be sufficient knowledge. They went ahead to postulate that since visible knowledge would not be required in the re-stated statute, but just knowledge of intoxication, then it would be valid in such case.
When requested to state the common law that led to the adoption of the statute, the defense team stated that it arose as a result of increased negligence; that constituted constructive knowledge evidence. In this particular case, the plaintiff was not negligent.
The appellant defense team ended by stating that the bar client in question had not engaged in any open abuse behavior in the presence of the bar attendant. Finally, the bar attendant would have been liable for accusation only if he served a drink on knowledge that his client was already intoxicated; this would have constituted a proximate cause.
The Appellee side
The appellee here was Mr. John Daniels, the bar client who was later involved in a 3-tier accident and physical fight. The defense team in his support argued that the bar attendant was liable for having “intentionally” started the “criminal act” that was to be associated with his client. In further defending their opinions, this defense team stated that the bar attendant was responsible for the criminal act based on the amount of alcohol served (a whooping 11 alcoholic beverages in a short time of 2½ hours) and the condition of the patron (bar client) before and after living the club.
In expounding on the above claims, this defense team stressed that the police report that had been taken after the occurrence of the accident had started that at 7.43 pm, the bar client had drove off not drank, but ant 7.55, he had already been involved in an accident. To them, they did not understand how the situation abruptly changed from not drank to very drank in a short distance and time (½ miles in five minutes).
The police report had alluded that at the time of the accident, the patron was unable to speak correctly and had low response rate; thus losing the ability to control his vehicle. These descriptive characteristics, according to the appellee team, evidenced actual knowledge on the intoxication claims.
After reviewing the two situations above, I concur with the opinions as expressed by the appellant team. This is simply because the two sides clearly agree to the variable of measurement (the statute) that prior actual knowledge was or would have the key to any wrong doing on the part of the bar attendant. However, the provision of “future” evidences by the appellee team does not constitute this actual knowledge.
The biblical worldview (on Christians) holds that though drinking wine is not a sin in the bible, getting drunk is definitely a sin (Probe Ministries, 2011). The extensive verse in the bible (Proverbs 23:39-39) warns Christians of the many negative effects associated with getting intoxicated. Drunkenness was also mentioned many times both in the Old and New Testaments (Homeschooler Café, 2009). As a result of this negative Biblical worldview towards drunkenness, both the appellant and the appellee teams responded to the questions in the case by strongly dissociating themselves from the “alcohol vice”.
According to Billington (2011), resolving conflicts among Christians focused on peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and love (p.5). The Biblical worldview has been significantly supported by many scriptures that have urged Godly or holly persons to overlook the many insults directed to them. The view also opposes revenge and retaliations. Jesus was one architect of the Biblical view who regularly encouraged his disciples to settle their own disputes; thus avoiding litigation processes.
In reference to the above Biblical worldview of resolving disputes, the method adopted above was not ideal. I would have proposed the two sides to engage into discussion and advise the bar attendant on the negative consequences associated with selling many alcoholic beverages to his clients.
Billington, B. (2011). Biblical dispute resolution. Retrieved 21 April 2011, from http:// www.cfuh.org.nz/launch/pdf/Dispute%2520Resolution%2520-%2520By%2520Bruce%2520Billington.pdf+biblical+view+on+resolution+of+disputes&hl=en&gl=ke&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjod_nSITOZywCMqaUH6AA4Z9AxEt0PfR0t9CPk2EzmRiVLh9gk8Nrjc-C_TalmKWe6rfyaa8fxhzJbTNHJE2VNY_4bNNtkLOzUgo55nxNlo8AosudOPpLbTUfwPm0wYHrbjwU4&sig=AHIEtbQEhKKiSd-ka7YiuOqsNgdol7Wlow
Hall, T. (2004). The U. S. Legal System: Acquital-jurisdiction. New York: Salem Press.
Liberty University Online, (2011). Reading and study: Presentation: Courtroom observation Part 1 of 8
Melone, A.P. & Karnes, A. (2008).The American legal system: perspectives, politics, processes, and policies. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
Probe Ministries, (2011). How should a Christaian think about alcohol? Retrieved 21 April, 2011, from http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4220243/k.F939/How_Should_A_Christian_Think_About_Alcohol.htm Homeschooler Café, (2009). Teaching a Biblical worldview. Retrieved 21 April, 2011, from http://homeschoolercafe.blogspot.com/2009/07/teaching-biblical-worldview.html
Segal, J.A., Spath, H.J. & Benesh, S.C (2005). The supreme court in the American legal system. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.