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Tom Randall's Halloween Party
Gathering and Weighing the Evidence

Defense Witnesses

Wendy Duvall

I've known Tom Randall for three years, and he's one of the finest and most responsible people I know. Tom is a serious student, and he is also a very caring person. He plans to be a teacher and works as a volunteer with special education students in a local school. He would never do anything to intentionally hurt anyone. His only purpose in having the Halloween party was for people to enjoy themselves. He paid for the whole thing himself! As far as people drinking is concerned, the fact is that drinking is one of the major social activities on campus. Virtually everyone drinks, from their first semester until their last. It's just the way things are here. People just don't pay attention to the drinking age on campus. It's as if the college is its own little world, with its own rules. The people at the party weren't drinking because Tom was pressuring or encouraging them to. They were drinking because that's what they do when they go to parties. If Tom hadn't had alcohol there, people would have gone out and brought some back-or gone to a party that did have alcohol. I didn't see Tom talk to Kelly, but he was circulating, trying to be a good host, seeing if people needed anything. He certainly wouldn't try to "pressure" someone into having a drink they didn't want to have. What happened with Kelly was a terrible, unfortunate accident—it certainly is something Tom should not be held responsible for.
A. Summarize and evaluate the information provided by the witness (Wendy Duvall). Is the information relevant to the guilt or innocence of the defendant (Tom Randall)? Is the information accurate? Give reasons to support your answer.




B. Evaluate the credibility of the witness (Wendy Duvall). Is the witness believable? Is the testimony fair or unfair, objective or biased? Are there factors that raise doubts about the accuracy of the testimony? Give reasons to support your answer.




Tom Randall (defendant)

I had been planning this Halloween party since school started in September. I thought that it would be fun and give me a chance to pay back students who had invited me to their parties. I had plenty of food and beverages on hand—soda and juice, as well as alcohol. Of course, I'm aware that the drinking age is 21 and that many students haven't reached that age yet; but nobody really takes the law very seriously. After all, if you're old enough to vote, get married, work, and be drafted, you should be old enough to drink. As far as my party was concerned, I felt that everyone had a right to make up their own minds—I just made the beverages available. Once people decided what they wanted to drink, I did try to keep them refilled. After all, that's the job of a good host. I remember Kelly was drinking beer, and I probably did bring her one or two over the course of the evening. I don't have any idea about the total amount of beer she had—I had no way of keeping track. I do remember saying goodbye to her, and she seemed in reasonably good shape. She was planning to drive. Looking back, I guess I should have paid more attention to her condition, but there were so many people there and so much was happening, I just didn't think about it. This party was not unusual—it's exactly like most of the parties that happen on campus. It's just that they don't usually end with someone dying.

C. Summarize and evaluate the information provided by the witness (Tom Randall). Is the information relevant to the guilt or innocence of the defendant (Tom Randall)? Is the information accurate? Give reasons to support your answer.




D. Evaluate the credibility of the witness (Tom Randall). Is the witness believable? Is the testimony fair or unfair, objective or biased? Are there factors that raise doubts about the accuracy of the testimony? Give reasons to support your answer.




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