BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A drug-addled, suicidal rock star, a vengeful
band mate charged with murder and a greedy son seeking to cash in
on a million dollar life insurance policy make up the cast of
characters in the case problem for this year's Buffalo Niagara mock
trial competition hosted by the University at Buffalo Law School on
Nov. 11-14 in the courtrooms of Buffalo City Court.
In this year's competition, 128 student advocates representing
32 law schools from 15 states will try both sides of either the
criminal case of People v. Thomas Osiski, or the civil case of the
Hartfeldt Insurance Co v. Zak Nugent Siriusz before local judges
and attorney evaluators.
"This is the first combination criminal-civil competition of its
kind," said Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk, competition
coordinator and case author.
In the criminal case, the defendant, Thomas Osiski, is accused
of shooting Martin Lewis Siriusz in the head as he was recording
his final song, "Hanging at Death's Door" not long after being
diagnosed with terminal cancer. Siriusz had cancelled a reunion
tour of his former band, SirOsis, causing his debt-ridden partner,
Osiski to miss out on a million dollars in much-needed income.
The prosecution will argue that Osiski murdered Siriusz out of
vengeance. The defense will contend that Siriusz either committed
suicide or was murdered by his disaffected, grunge rocker son, Zak
Nugent Siriusz , the sole beneficiary under his father's life
In the civil case, the parties will spar over the Hartfeldt
Insurance Company's refusal to pay out on the policy on the grounds
that Siriusz killed himself or was murdered by his son.
Legendary Buffalo guitarist Willie Schoellkopf and his band
Stone Bridge (aka "Soriasis," a SirOsis cover band ), will play a
variety of songs including Sirosis hits "It's So Schizo" and
"Hanging at Death's Door" with help from local musician Michael
"Bly" Santa Maria, (a 1999 UB Law School trial teamer), at the
competition awards banquet Friday night at the Avant/Embassy
Local actors will play the part of the witnesses, Zak Nugent
Siriusz, Detective Stephen Tyler, Thomas Osiski and Lee Vaughan
Helm, a defense expert who will claim that Siriusz' death was a
The participating schools are: Akron University, American
University, Barry University, Brooklyn Law School, Catholic
University, Chicago-Kent, Thomas Cooley Law School, Creighton,
Duquesne, Faulkner, Florida Coastal, Florida State, Fordham,
Georgia State, Georgia, Illinois, John Marshall, Michigan State,
Northern Kentucky, Nova, Pace, Pacific McGeorge, South Texas, St.
John's, St. Mary's of Texas, Temple, Thomas Jefferson, Villanova,
Widener (Del), Widener(Pa) and Wisconsin.